New Father Christmas lights up Piccadilly Gardens

Manchester's new giant light-up Santa was switched on in Piccadilly Gardens this afternoon.

The huge figure stands at 12 metres in height and weighs in at a whopping 2.3 tonnes.

The new Santa Claus figure - complete with twirly moustache and a giant gift-wrapped box for a plinth - was delivered in pieces to Piccadilly Gardens last night and assembled today.

It replaces Manchester's much-loved 'Zippy' figure, which is now enjoying its retirement outside the Kellogg's factory in Trafford.

Credit: MEN Media

The new Santa comes with eco-friendly credentials too, with low-energy LED lights.

He's part of a planet-friendly festive light trail of sculptures across the city centre, which have been made from biodegradable sugar cane and recycled aluminium.

The lights were switched on in the afternoon, with crowds already forming around the festive structure, taking selfies and posing between his twinkling black boots.

Traders in the stalls at the Piccadilly Gardens Christmas Markets also said they hope the attraction will bring new visitors to the area and increase footfall.

Councillor Pat Karney, Manchester’s Christmas spokesperson, said: “We are Santa’s favourite city, which is why he chooses to come back year after year.“It’s fantastic to welcome him to Piccadilly Gardens for the first time as the centrepiece to our new Christmas lights trail.

“Visit him in his new home from today - it will make all your Christmas wishes come true.”