WET weather failed to dampen the Christmas spirit in early December 2012 as Somerset got into the swing of the festive season.

While communities and council staff were using sandbags to protect homes from flooding, event organisers tried their best to stick to Christmas plans.

Staff members at West Somerset Garden Centre in Minehead were determined to re-build their Santa's grotto after it was caught up in flooding.

Shop manager Fiona Johnson said: “We’ve had to take it all apart. It was quite heart-rending because the lads have put a lot of work into it.

“There were almost life-sized reindeer inside their home, artificial snow on the ground and various other bits in our Christmas garden. We just couldn’t believe it.

“It all has to be re-built by Saturday now and it took a fortnight to build in the first place.

“All the water has been swept and mopped up now, and nearly all the material has dried, so as long as it doesn’t happen again we should be able to start re-building it.

“The main shop and buildings containing stock were all OK, luckily. It could have been worse.”

Somerset County Gazette: Phil Winter cleans West Somerset Garden Centre's Christmas attraction after it fell victim to flooding in 2012.Phil Winter cleans West Somerset Garden Centre's Christmas attraction after it fell victim to flooding in 2012. (Image: Steve Guscott)

Days later, more than 50 people braved the weather and donned their Father Christmas costumes to take part in Minehead's Santa Run.

The event was organised by the rotary club and saw the contestants run around the West Somerset Community College grounds. 

Rotarian David Paveling said: “I was amazed at the laughter and good spirits as people braved the rain and had a go.

“This was the first time we have held a Santa Run and we are really pleased at the way the folk of Minehead and local schools responded.”

Runners and spectators made the most of a range of stalls selling food, drinks, arts and crafts and festive gifts.

The weather continued to worsen through December, leading to locals dubbing that year's weather ‘the worst in living memory’.

Met Office statistics showed that 2012 was one of the wettest years in Somerset since records began over a century earlier. 

After Christmas day, hundreds of people were left stranded because flooding wiped out train services south-west of Taunton, and several roads were closed after they became impassable.