Free Christmas rides for food bank donors

Free tickets for the Star Flyer will be handed out. Pic: Malcolm McCurrach

Free tickets for the Star Flyer will be handed out. Pic: Malcolm McCurrach

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Revellers are being given the chance to enjoy Edinburgh’s Christmas attractions for free – by spreading a little holiday cheer.

Anyone who donates at least two items to a bustling Capital food bank will be rewarded with a free ticket on any one of the festive rides, apart from Santa’s Grotto.

The food drive kicks off on Tuesday as part of the 12 Days of Christmas event, which will see thousands of people given tickets to the attractions.

Diverse daily themes range from free entry to all those visitors named Nicholas, Nick or Nicola – to a complimentary ticket for anyone who was born between December 25 and January 5.

And on December 30, attractions will adopt an open-door policy for those with hair as red as Santa’s suit – although costume wigs and “See You Jimmy” hats will be strictly prohibited.

But those who donate non-perishable food items to the Trussell Trust Food Bank will be rewarded first.

The organisation has helped more than 10,000 city families in the last year alone, as use of food banks shot up 330 per cent.

City festivals champion Councillor Steve Cardownie hailed the promotion, which he said would help ensure no-one goes hungry on Christmas Day.

“What we want to do is to encourage people to think about those less fortunate than themselves,” Cllr Cardownie said.

“For a lot of us, Christmas tends to revolve around making sure that there are plenty of presents under the tree for the kids, but to be honest there are quite a few people in the city that won’t have anything under the tree this year – let alone have food to eat.

“We should be doing all we can to make sure everyone has got something. The whole thing is in keeping with the Christmas spirit – although it’s something that we should be doing each and every day.”

New Year’s Day will also see a free ticket handed to anyone who brings a tin of shortbread into the Edinburgh’s Christmas box office.

The following day, free entry into the St Andrew Square and Princes Street Gardens attractions will be given to serving members of the armed forces, NHS workers and emergency crews.

Charlie Wood, director of Underbelly, the firm responsible for Edinburgh’s Christmas, said: “We’re really delighted to be running the 12 Days of Christmas giveaway again.

“It’s a bit of festive fun and a way of celebrating Christmas with the people of Edinburgh and all our customers from around the world.”

nash.riggins@edinburghnews.com