SANTA Clause's furry little helpers brought some early Christmas cheer to a Clacton care home.

The pair of reindeers stopped by the Corner Lodge Care Home - with their flying sleigh - where they were petted by some 46 elderly residents.

Dasher and Blitzen, who were supplied by J&C Party Pets, had their photos taken with residents and their families who were invited in for the festive event in Jaywick. 

Usually the residents are used to snakes, tarantulas and lizards slithering about but were taken aback by seeing real reindeers - as were the staff.

Activities coordinator Debbie Collins, who organised it all, said: "It was a big hit. I've never seen so many smiles or heard so many 'Ah's'.

"The reindeers were very placid and constantly eat moss. Apparently they also urinate a lot but we didn't have any of that, we just had one do a number two.

"And their antlers are furry so the residents kept complimenting how beautiful they were."