CHRISTMAS came early at St Nicolas Primary School, Abingdon, and with a continental flavour.

St Nicolas is considered by some to be the forerunner of Father Christmas, and Dutch people celebrate his arrival on December 5 by handing out gifts.

Pupils greeted the school’s patron saint as he arrived on a white horse, accompanied by his companions, three Black Peters, who presented the 300 children with early Christmas presents of sweets and biscuits in 1981.

The arrival marked the high spot of celebrations to mark St Nicolas Day, which included a church carol service and a Christmas lunch for the children