Santa gets nicked – but it’s just his cardboard cut-out!

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IT would be hard to imagine a more placid, kind-hearted person than Santa Claus.

After all, wouldn’t it test the patience of Job having to do all the journeys at Christmas delivering all those presents to countless homes up and down the country?

Right now, however, Santa isn’t best pleased…all because someone has pinched his cardboard cut-out which was a useful directional aid to his whereabouts in Ballymoney.

The dirty deed was carried out last Tuesday night on the corner of Curries at Church Street/Main Street where Santa had been placed by Ballymoney Borough Council and the Chamber of Commerce to help brighten up the town’s pre-Christmas celebrations.

The cut-out was kindly donated by Coca Cola who gave the town three four feet Santas.

Two were placed outside EJ Cassells on Main Street where Santa has his temporary home. They were positioned on wheels making them seven feet tall and brought in each night for safety.

The one at Curries, which enabled people to see it from Church Street, High Street and Main Street, was screwed to the wall but not bolted well enough it seems.

Last Wednesday morning, Shaun Esler, known for his excellent charity work in the Borough and beyond, and who is, shall we say, closely associated with Santa this year, turned up at 9 a.m. to find it had been removed from the wall and taken.

Needless to say, Shaun was furious.

He said: “The signs were a bit of fun for the kids of the town to see and to advertise Santa coming to EJ Cassells. I was absolutely shocked and sick to the stomach when I discovered it had been ripped down from the wall during the night.

“I hope those who took him have a very Merry Christmas.” (The next utterance from Shaun might not have the approval of the majority of our readers).”

However, appealing to the Christmas spirit of the local community Shaun continued: “I would urge anyone who has information as to where Santa has gone to notify the Ballymoney and Moyle Times or the police.

“Maybe someone saw who took it, knows where Santa is or simply has heard people bragging about it. Maybe it’s been dumped in a field, destroyed or is simply sat in someone’s home.

“The act doesn’t feel like something a drunk would do, it’s more something kids would think is funny when they are board roaming the streets. Well all I can say is, it’s not funny for the children of the town who are missing out on seeing Santa - they are ruining the festive spirit for everyone.

“Let’s just hope he Ho, Ho, Ho’s back into town as soon as possible.”

The theft has prompted a witty response from the Borough Council’s resident poet, Jean McPherson, who penned the following touching tribute.

Santa was stuck on the corner

So all little kiddies could see

The hope and that joy that Christmas can bring

(he was too big to stick on a tree).

He was there to point out direction

To his grotto that’s in Eddies store

But sadly the council now have to report

That Santa is there no more.

Bah humbug has been at his work in this town

And lifted the wee man in red

Let’s hope that the culprit is soon brought to rights

So we can all sleep safe in our bed.

To anyone out there with any news

on the location of the wee man with the hair

Come forward at once and give us the news

And show all our kids that you care.

The police are informed, the papers alert

We urgently await your call

Let’s get him back, both him and sack

And stick him back up on the wall.

Santa will be at EJ Cassells every Fri (3-5pm) and Sat (12noon to 4pm) in the run up to Christmas.