Secret Santa - what he loves about Great Yarmouth

Santa at the Christmas light switch on event in Great Yarmouth. Picture: Danielle Booden

Santa at the Christmas light switch on event in Great Yarmouth - Credit: Danielle Booden

We have asked Father Christmas what he likes most about the Great Yarmouth area as he makes his rounds dropping off presents to thousands of homes and spreading festive cheer on his sleigh.

How would you best describe your job or role in the 
Ho Ho Ho! My main job is to visit all houses on Christmas Eve. Also, I help the Great Yarmouth Lions’ Club by riding on their sleigh through the streets of the borough, waving to all the families and bringing joy. I have been known to have the very important job of switching on the Christmas lights in the market place. 

Father Christmas on the Lions Club sleigh

Father Christmas on the Lions Club sleigh - Credit: Yarmouth Lions Club

How long have you lived here?  
I’ve lived in the North Pole for longer than I can remember. I do spend one month a year living in Great Yarmouth so that I am there to ride on the sleigh, which I have been doing since 1959. 

What would you do if you were mayor of Great Yarmouth for a day? 
If I was mayor for the day, I would reinstate the Great Yarmouth and Gorleston carnival. This would give me the opportunity to take my sleigh out in the summer, to give everyone a wave and to give me the opportunity to visit one of the best “hohoholiday” resorts around. 

2/15 The Fay Bedford stage school of Dance in fancy dress for the Gorleston Carnival.

The Fay Bedford stage school of Dance in fancy dress at a Gorleston Carnival. - Credit: Archant

What is your favourite Great Yarmouth landmark?  
I have two favourite landmarks. One is the bus depot, as they let me keep my sleigh in there during December, and the other is Nelson’s Monument, as I know, when I fly over it, that I need to do a right turn to visit Great Yarmouth. 

Nelson's monument in Great Yarmouth. Picture: James Bass

Nelson's monument in Great Yarmouth - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2014

What is your favourite pub?  
My favourite pub is The Avenue in Newtown as, whenever I pass by, they always bring out a generous donation and, most importantly, a little tipple to keep me warm whilst riding on my sleigh. When I do have a little tipple, I always make sure one of my elves drives! 

Father Christmas loves dropping in on the staff at the Avenue pub

Father Christmas loves dropping in on the staff at the Avenue pub - Credit: Archant

Which shops do you rely on?  
Mrs Claus always asks me to pop into Perry’s Butchers whenever I’m in town to pick up some of their famous burgers and some of their lovely sausage meat to make her sausage rolls. If it was down to me, I would visit Richard in What Is Hip on Gorleston High Street to get one of those very funky shirts to add some style to my Christmas suit. 

What is your favourite place to eat out?  
Mrs Claus and I love to visit Charlie’s Tapas on Regent Road, as I always feel better if I have a few small dishes... but who am I kidding? - as Sharon, the owner, always reminds me that it is ‘all you can eat’. If I’ve got the elves with me, then it has to be chips on the market, bacon roll from Barrie's and cockles from Nichols seafood stall. 

What is a perfect day in the borough for you?  
The perfect day in the borough for me would start with a walk along Gorleston Beach. We would then pop to Bure Park for a spot of pitch and putt (oh, note to self – add golf balls to my Christmas list, as I always lose them!) It would then be a walk down Regent Road to catch an open-top bus for a ride along the Golden Mile and finishing the day with an ice cream from John at the Harbour’s Mouth. 

Norfolk’s coast has been named among the best areas of outstanding natural beauty in the UK. Pictu

Santa Claus loves Gorleston beach - Credit: James Bass

Which places in the borough would you recommend to visitors?  
The first one would have to be the Hippodrome. I still don’t understand where that swimming pool comes from! Another would be a lovely walk around the Waterways and, if you are lucky, you will see the heron looking for his next meal. If that’s not enough for your day, then a visit to the Pleasure Beach, as the scenic railway is almost as old as me! 

The finale of the Hippodrome Circus' Summer Spectacular 2021

The finale of the Hippodrome Circus' Summer Spectacular 2021 - Credit:

Who is your Great Yarmouth hero? 
I have so many heroes in Great Yarmouth: they are those that always give a donation whilst I am out on my sleigh runs - from the youngest of children to many of the ladies and gents in their senior years. I am always amazed by the generosity of so many people, especially those that you know have been saving their coppers up all year round and they bring them out in a tin each year. 
What do you most love about Great Yarmouth?  
I love the heritage of this town so much, as there are so many interesting and beautiful buildings where you would least expect them. One of the most popular gifts I have given is the book Black Beauty, and it has such a proud connection with Great Yarmouth.