FATHER Christmas flew in especially to see children from West Dean Primary School last week.
The tradition dates back to the 19th century, when William James established the school.
Each year, the mode of transport is kept secret until the very last minute and staff get just excited as the children in the build-up.
Irene Caswell, senior media relations officer for the West Dean estate, said: “This year, Father Christmas and his elves arrived by helicopter for the first time.
“The children could just hear it and then it appeared. It was very exciting.
“Afterwards, they went into the Oak Hall for a carol service and received little gifts from Father Christmas individually.”
Children and teachers always walk up to the house for the annual event. In the early days, the pupils received shoes.
Transport for Father Christmas in the past has included a VW and tractor.
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