NOT even coronavirus can keep Father Christmas away from Bromsgrove - after Santa Sleigh Route organisers announced plans for the annual event to go ahead this winter despite the pandemic.

The popular procession has been going for more than 40 years and Bromsgrove Round Table did not want to miss out a year despite the current national lockdown.

With that lockdown set to end on December 2, the Sleigh Route is scheduled to begin four days later, although organisers admit dates and locations are provisional and subject to change.

Usually, Santa and his helpers collect money for local charities during their festive travels around Bromsgrove but social distancing requirements mean donations must be made online this year.

"We will be doing a slightly different sleigh this year," said a Round Table spokesperson.

"We have the permit to collect from the council, however, we will not be knocking on doors.

"We have created a just giving link this year due to the current events going on.

"We will still have Santa’s little helpers alongside the sleigh, so if you still want to give change then you still can.

"All helpers will be wearing PPE (masks and gloves) for your protection and to protect the elves as well.

"We know it has been a hard year, so we hope that this will give you something to look forward to!"

The news has delighted Bromsgrove residents, who took to social media to praise the Round Table's determination to ensure the tradition continues.

Sonya Hanson said: "This is the best news ever! Thank you so much, you are probably the only way our kids are going to see the great man himself this year."

Christy Gallivan added: "Love seeing Santa come round ever since I was little. We were out last year giving him a wave. Think we need this more than ever this year."

The Sleigh Route is set to begin on Sunday, December 6 in Breme Park, Harwood Park and Rutherford Road.

Greyfriars, Willow Road and Padget Close will be visited by Santa on Tuesday, December 8 before Deans Way and Hill Top receive some festive cheer the following day.

Santa will head to Charford on Friday, December 11 and Woodland Grange, Lea Park Rise and Pennine on Saturday, December 12.

The route then takes in Stoke Heath on Sunday, December 13 and Perryfields and Sidemoor on Monday, December 14.

It heads to Millfields, Highfields Road, Breakback Road and Forelands on Tuesday, December 15, then Bant Mill Road, Fordhouse Road and Blackwood Road on Wednesday, December 16.

Townsend, Norton Farm and Lickey End will welcome Santa and his helpers on Friday, December 18.

And in the week leading up to Christmas Day, the route finishes with visits to Morrisons (from 9am-5pm) on Saturday, December 19, the Oakhalls on Sunday, December 20 and Stoke Prior on Monday, December 21.