SCOUT groups linked up with Keighley College to help have the Keighley Lions Club's Santa Sleigh rebuilt in time for Christmas.

The Lions charity now has a new sleigh, after it was found its 18-year-old model needed a rebuild.

The latest version, complete with a revamped sound system and LED lights, was presented to the Lions at Keighley College. Students and staff from the college's motor mechanics, joinery and electronics departments had worked to put the sleigh together.

It will have its first outing when it takes Santa to Stephen Smith's Garden Centre in Harden tomorrow (December 1) for the launch of the Christmas grotto.

Keighley Lions Club and the garden centre will kick off their Christmas Charity Campaign, with a presentation of the 2017 campaign cheque for £2,050, bringing the total raised in 25 years of hosting Santa's grotto at the store to over £80,000.

Ten year old Natasha Clark, from Riddlesden, will help Santa and the Keighley town mayor launch the grotto and its latest attraction – its own train.

She won the Name the Train competition, in which youngsters were asked to submit a name for the grotto train. Natasha's choice of "The Snowball Express" was chosen by members and guests at a Keighley Lions social evening.

Explaining how the new sleigh was created, Jeanette Young, Keighley Scout district commissioner, said: "Keighley Scouts and Keighley Lions enjoy a great partnership. The Scouts accompany the sleigh as it drives round the estates collecting donations.

"David Ogden, of Keighley Lions, asked me if there was any chance of the Scouts giving the sleigh a coat of paint as it was looking rather drab.

"I called up to see the sleigh and thought it would be a bit too big a job for the Scouts.

"I went to Keighley College and explained the situation. Craig Butterfield, a staff member, was asked if he would help, and without any hesitation said 'yes'.

"Craig has led the whole sleigh build, with the college donating materials and time.

"I met with Craig to discuss the progress of the sleigh as it travelled from department to department. Keighley Lions now have a fabulous sleigh, which will work wonders this Christmas in fundraising for charity."

The Lions have been taking Santa around Keighley district for more than 25 years.

A club spokesman said: "About 13 to 14 years ago we enlisted the help of Scout groups in collecting alongside Santa and the sleigh.

"Our 'retired sleigh' was made by Keighley Lions 18 years ago, having been sponsored by Colin Appleyard, who towed it for years free of charge.

"It was refurbished many times. However, this year we were unable to do the job, which is when the Scouts took it on and the college became involved.

"Our president Hazel Jiggins, Mr Ogden, along with all other members of the club cannot thank everyone enough for the help given in rebuilding the sleigh."

Mr Butterfield, joinery lecturer at the college, said: “This was a fantastic project for the students and allowed them to put their theory into practice.

"I’m very pleased with their work and proud to see them contributing to the community.”

Together with the Scouts, the sleigh is out and about around Keighley district on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays in December. And it will feature at a static charity collection point in Keighley town centre on Christmas Eve.

*2018 Santa Sleigh Rota: Monday December 3, start at 5.45pm for 6pm, junction of Kelburn Grove and Farley Crescent, Oakworth, finish at 8pm, bottom of Sunhurst Drive, Oakworth, Scout group - 6th Keighley Oakworth; Wednesday December 5 Christingle, start at 5.45 for 6pm, outside Oakworth Co-op, finish at 8pm, High Oak Garth, off Providence Lane, Scout group - Service/Network District Team Worth Valley Explorers; Friday December 7, start at 5.45pm for 6pm, bottom end of Wheathead Crescent, finish at 8.30pm, Westburn Avenue, Scout groups – 3rd Keighley Phoenix and 1st Keighley Fell Lane; Monday December 10, start at 5.45pm for 6pm, top of Clough Avenue in Steeton, finish at 8pm, Thornhill Way, Scout group – 3rd Keighley; Wednesday December 12, start at 5.45pm for 6pm, bottom of High Fell Rise, Fell Lane, finish at 8pm, just below start of Prospect Mount and Fell Lane, Scout group – 23rd Keighley and Riddlesden Explorers; Friday December 14, start at 5.45pm for 6pm, top of Canberra Drive, finish at 8.30pm, Haworth Road junction of Firth Street, Scout groups – 8th Keighley and 14th Keighley; Monday December 17, start at 5.45pm for 6pm, Greenside Lane, finish at 8pm, Lees Close, Scout group – 11th Keighley and Cullingworth Explorers; Wednesday December 19, start at 5.45pm for 6pm, junction of Ings Lane and Howden Road, finish at 8pm, junction of Daisy Hill and Howden Road, Scout group – 1st Silsden St James and Silsden Explorers; Thursday December 20, start at 5.45pm for 6pm, bottom of Roedhelm Road, Swine Lane, East Morton, finish at 8.30pm, Thornycroft Road, Scout groups – 2nd Keighley Riddlesden and 5th Keighley East Morton; Friday December 21, start at 5.45pm for 6pm, the roundabout at top end of Bronte Drive, Oakworth Road, finish at 8pm, St Joseph's Church, Queens Road, Ingrow, Scout groups – 19th Keighley and 25th Keighley.