The creator of Britain’s Got Talent stars Boogie Storm is bringing a Naughty or Nice grotto to Liverpool
1 month ago
By Dawn Collinson
The man behind Britain’s Got Talent dance troupe Boogie Storm is launching a ‘Naughty or Nice’ grotto in Liverpool this Christmas.
And Lee Seddon has pledged to offer free visits if families are struggling to buy tickets so no kids have to miss out on a special festive experience.
Lee has been planning the attraction for the past couple of years, but it’s only this year that he’s found the right location and team to make it a reality.
Now work has started on site outside Barney’s Bargains in Hartley Village, Aintree and the grotto will be open to the public from November 19.
As well as the two star attractions – Santa and the Grinch – there’ll be a Polar Express train, giant snow globes, a super-sized Chair of Cheer and a massive custom-made sledge for families to take photos. Children will also be able to meet the elves, write a letter to Santa and post it off in the Magical Fireplace.
Lee, who works as an instructor for the Fire Service, says he wanted to create something with activities and photo opportunities included in a one-off ticket.
He explains: “With all the price rises that have been happening lots of families aren’t going to be able to afford things at Christmas, especially families who are finding it hard anyway. I want to give people the best Christmas experience and make it really affordable, and also help families who are struggling financially by offering free visits for their children.
“It’ll all be done very informally, people can contact me directly on our social media (@naughtyornicexmas), and I’m going to be working with charities in Liverpool who do lots for kids so they can suggest families and bring them along.
“I remember going to the grotto in Blackler’s when I was a kid because that was the one everyone wanted to go to and that was the big highlight in the run-up to Christmas.
“With this one, it’s not just about standing in a queue because that can be a nightmare, trying to keep kids entertained. They need to have something to do before they go in to see Santa so that’s why I’m setting up lots of little stations in different areas where families can go and get photo opportunities at each one.
“I’m getting a train made into the Polar Express so people can jump on that, then they can go into the open area and there’ll be giant snow globes to get pictures inside, a huge fibreglass sledge that’s the size of a car, a Chair of Cheer, and a Magical Fireplace where kids can put their letters.”
Lee decided on the Naughty or Nice theme to appeal to a wider age range.
“If you’ve got older kids who might not want to go and see Santa, I’ve got the Grinch as well so everyone will go through the giant entrance and then have a choice which way they turn.”
With ideas and surprises being added all the time, Lee has collaborated with Barney’s Bargains owner Stephen Cole to make it happen.
“It’s something I’ve really wanted to do for a while but I’ve never found the right people to build it and the right land before. I know Ste, the owner of Barney’s Bargains, and he’s a brilliant guy who loves doing things for the community, especially giving back to the kids.
“He said I could use his car park so we’ve started on site already. I’ve got loads of help, ex-fireman and entertainment guys who’ve worked with me for years, and friends have all mucked in. We’re aiming to have everything ready by the 12th, the week before we open, so we can bring some kids down, family and friends, to try it out and make sure everything runs smoothly because it has to meet everyone’s expectations.”
The grotto, which will also be having special sessions for children with autism, will be the festive finale to what’s been a very busy year for dad-of-one Lee.
It’s more than six years since Boogie Storm first wowed audiences with their Star Wars Stormtrooper dance routines on Britain’s Got Talent.
They hit our screens in 2016, then went on to win millions of new fans in the US when they appeared on America’s Got Talent in 2019 and judge Simon Cowell gave them the golden buzzer.
Since then they’ve performed all over the world – this year including Saudi Arabia, America and Bermuda – and on December 4 Lee will be bringing them back home for a special show at Barney’s Christmas light switch-on.
He says he wants this grotto to be something special which he can grow year after year.
“For me, families going to see Santa, or the Grinch, is all about the memories, whether that’s writing the letter to Santa, having a family picture in the snow globe or having a game throwing snowballs. It’s just making a lovely experience for everyone.”