FATHER Christmas paid Winchester children an early visit last weekend.

Santa gave presents to more than 30 Harestock children as they met him one by one at the March Hare Pub in Priors Dean Road.

It was part of a pub Christmas party organised by landlady June Snaddon after she got the idea from a visit to Scotland.

She said: “I was visiting my grandchildren in November and I saw an estate pub doing something similar which was bringing the community together.

“It's sometimes challenging to do that here as there are less army families now but we want to bring the community to the pub and not just have things going on for adults but children to.

June, 47, has been at the pub for a year after transferring from the Bakers Arms in Winchester, with both pubs owned by entrepreneur Mike Sinker.

She added: “It's a great pub here and I have had a good year. It's been hectic but we are getting the community involved and everyone seems to be having fun.”

City councillor Eileen Berry, who lives in Harestock, was also at the party and praised the work of staff.

She said: “They have all done a wonderful job here and I support them fully. They work so hard and I think this event proves that.”