Friends meet up to see Santa at railway

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An unusual reunion took place at the Leighton Buzzard Railway.

Eleven passengers with connections with the Gilbert Islands met up to see Santa, bringing their traditional garlands to add to the festivities.

The visit on December 3 was a part of an annual reunion which attracts members of up to 100 families with connections to the UK.

The Kiribati (in the local language) are the first to celebrate Christmas and New Year as their islands are located on the equator between Papua New Guinea and Hawaii, close to the International Date Line.

The islands, which have no railways of their own, are low-lying and are one of several groups of islands at serious risk from climate change.

Their flag shows the frigate bird which symbolises command of the sea, power, freedom and Kiribati cultural dance patterns, the blue and white wavy bands represent the Pacific Ocean, which surrounds Kiribati, and the sun refers to Kiribati’s position astride the Equator.

People are being reminded to take the opportunity to see Santa at the Leighton Buzzard Railway, but to make sure they have booked their tickets online at

Many trains are filling up but there is plenty of space on December 20, 21 and 22.