Military father makes his children's wishes come true in Santa's grotto

Updated: 

A military father made his children's Christmas wishes come true when he surprised them by returning home unannounced - in Santa's grotto. 

Naval engineer Chris Tisdell, who had been stationed overseas since the summer, left his two children stunned when he emerged as they chatted to Father Christmas.

He had been waiting behind the scenes as his son Ewan, eight, and daughter Lois, nine, confessed the only gift they wanted was his safe return. 

They were not expecting to see the warrant officer until next May, following his deployment to the Middle East aboard HMS Daring. 

As the children were led over to a Christmas tree to make a wish, their father emerged - sporting a Santa hat and clutching two presents - to surprise them when they turned around.

The three then shared a warm embrace. 

The touching reunion, which happened at Marwell Zoo's Christmas event, in Hampshire, came about after Mr Tisdell secured a few days off over the festive period. 

They and mother Helen will now spend Christmas together at their home in Whiteley, near the Portsmouth naval base. 

Helen, who helped orchestrate the reunion with the assistance of Marwell staff, said: "I am so pleased to see him at home for Christmas with the family."

Lois added: "It's great and amazing. I can't wait to tell my friends."