SHOPPERS were all smiles over the weekend as they enjoyed a fun packed Christmas event in a popular shopping venue.

All sorts of entertainment was available to children at Eastgate Shopping Centre, including a National Elf Service and some bouncy reindeer, which were on a mission to bring laughter to everyone.

Christmas Tree Fairies could also be seen on site, while a pair of giant sparkling Snowball Sprites were whizzing around on roller skates and dancing with shoppers.

Visitors could also catch an appearance from Basildon’s favourite comedy nun Musical Ruth and enjoy her buffoonery and festive songs as she drove around on her glittering baby piano.

Christmas tunes from vintage vocal trio The Candy Girls were also lifting up the spirits with award-winning dancers The Aerial Allstars, who gave four performances on the lollipop lyra.

Ian Clark, Eastgate’s shopping centre manager, said: “What a wonderful, festive day our shoppers enjoyed at Eastgate.

"Our thanks to the Mayor and to Carla for opening Santa’s grotto alongside our competition winners Oliver and Kyla Buckley.”

The grotto will be open every day through to Christmas Eve.

Tickets are free but must be booked in advance.

Visit and facebook/EastgateBasildon

PICTURES: Matt Grayson