SANTA had a special trip down the River Tees when he was aboard the Tees Wheely Boat which had been decked out as a sleigh.

The specially converted boat is designed to help disabled people enjoy trips down the river.

Volunteers transformed to the boat into a floating sleigh and travelled up and down the river waving at children on the bankside.

Volunteer Robin Pepper said: “Santa was waving at all the children as we made our way along the river and he was giving out festive treats to anyone who was there when we docked the wheely boat. The volunteers decked it out themselves and everyone seemed to have a good time.”

The £20,000 boat was launched by Paralympian gold medallist Tanni GreyThompson last year and is part of an initiative aimed at encouraging wider utilisation of the River Tees.

The boat, which is designed with a hinged bow door and ramp access, accommodates wheelchair users and allows them to enjoy boating on the river Tees. Users will be assisted by trained crew and the boat is available to all members of the public who have mobility impairment irrespective of age or medical condition.

The Tees Wheelyboat is based at the River Tees Watersports Centre. To book, call Tees Wheelyboat Club on 07748-908646 or go to