Santa saves the day at Swaffham’s Christmas lights celebration

A delighted Evie Barker (2) gets an early Christmas present from Father Christmas watched by Swaffham mayor, Shirley Matthews ANL-141012-190319001

A delighted Evie Barker (2) gets an early Christmas present from Father Christmas watched by Swaffham mayor, Shirley Matthews ANL-141012-190319001

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Santa saved the day in Swaffham on Sunday as a late substitute ensured children were not disappointed at the town’s Christmas lights switch-on.

Stephen Fuell, from Fakenham, was drafted in the day before the spectacular after the original Father Christmas was taken ill with flu.

Swaffham's Christmas lights switch-on ANL-141012-190329001

Swaffham's Christmas lights switch-on ANL-141012-190329001

He was asked to step in while collecting a Santa suit from a fancy dress shop in Dereham on Saturday.

He said: “The woman behind the counter took one look at me and asked if I would like to be Father Christmas at Swaffham tomorrow.

“Once we established just what was involved I was happy to resolve a crisis.”

And he added: “I’m already booked for next year!”

Two-year-old Amy English meets Mickey Mouse ANL-141012-190226001

Two-year-old Amy English meets Mickey Mouse ANL-141012-190226001

Stephen is well used to the needs of hopeful children at this time of year having donned the costume in his former home village in Bedfordshire for many years before moving two years ago.

And he enjoyed meeting around 150 very polite little boys and girls who shared their Christmas wishes.

All the children received a present and an orange, provided by the town council.

Santa said he enjoyed his visit to Swaffham and hopes to meet as many children’s wishes as possible in a couple of weeks’ time. But he added: “Sometimes I have so many boys and girls to deliver presents to that I have to spread the presents between them. So if a boy or girl does not get all they wish for they should be pleased with what they do receive and maybe any missing presents will appear next year.”

Swaffham Sacred Heart School's Latin dancers perform a Cha Cha Cha for spectators

Swaffham Sacred Heart School's Latin dancers perform a Cha Cha Cha for spectators

Thousands enjoyed a packed day of activities, which culminated in the lights switch-on hosted by KL.FM presenter Simon Rowe, in a display co-ordinated by the Swaffham Business Forum.