Parents urged not to be pushy after child is 'kicked in the face' during Puffing Billy's Christmas tour
Puffing Billy’s team has sent out a plea to parents not to push their child towards Santa for a photo after a youngster was kicked in the face.
The road train is touring towns and villages across Wearside and East Durham in the lead up to Christmas as its crew also collect cash for a life-saving heart unit which treats children.
But in the wake of an incident where a child was pushed over and kicked in the face, its officials have urged people to show kindness and consideration for others during the festive celebrations.
They have said they will ensure all children get the chance to have their photo taken with Father Christmas and Mrs Claus, with helpers on hand to make sure everyone gets their chance.
The incident happened last night, Tuesday, December 17, as the train visited Hetton, Houghton, Newbottle, Herrington, Shiney Row, Penshaw, Biddick Woods, Bournmoor and Fence Houses.
The team, which was messaged about the incident, later received a follow-up note to say child was fine.
Before that evening’s trip began, it had made a plea for good behaviour from grown-ups after the elves noticed some “grumpy and quite vocal parents” with extra people brought in to help with the crowds.
The Puffing Billy Facebook posted: “We have just seen a really upsetting post.
“A young child was pushed over and kicked in the face tonight.
“This was caused by adults pushing their children towards Santa and Mrs Claus for a picture.
“Can we please reiterate that Santa and Mrs Claus will have their pic with every child.
“Please wait patiently and our helpers in hi-vis jackets will make sure everyone gets a pic fairly and safely.”
The post earlier in the evening said: “Each night Santa and Mrs Claus ensure they get their picture taken with all children at each stop.
“At 99% of the stops you guys have been super patient but we have noticed at a few stops that there are a few ‘grumpy’ and quite vocal parents.
“We understand you guys have waited a while and it can be frustrating waiting for a pic but please don’t surge/push towards Santa and Mrs Claus.
This can make it difficult for other families to get pictures and could also result in a child getting hurt.
“Please be patient guys....we won’t leave until we have greeted each child.”
The road train was built by South Hetton businessman Ian Morrell in tribute to the one he remembered from his visit to Butlin’s in Filey as a youngster.
The Christmas tours raise cash for the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle, where Ian’s grandson Caden, now eight, had open-heart surgery when he was just two-months-old, with a series of books also boosting funds.