Santa's new sleigh for 2018, built in Lymington!
Lymington Rotary's new sleigh built at Peter Cooper Ltd
For over 40 years the Rotary Santa Sleigh has become well known in the Lymington, Pennington, Sway, Hordle and Milford on Sea areas, bringing joy and pleasure to the many generations of children at Christmas time. At the same time, many thousands of pounds have been raised by the elves manning the sleigh, funds that have helped many in the local community.
This year a new sleigh has been constructed in the workshops at Peter Cooper Ltd as the old sleigh failed it's MOT (you see, even Father Christmas has these problems...!). It was unveiled at the Lymington Christmas Lights and Shopping evening on 30th November.
The history of Lymington's Santa Sleigh
In 1973, a Rotary Santa Float at Lymington was first seen in Lymington. Initially it was just a flatbed trailer with a Christmas tree on each corner which was built by Dr Basil Thornton and Alan Figgures. A 12v car battery powered lights and sound system. Santa sat on a simple wooden chair in the middle. A cunning mechanism using car trafficators waggled the reindeer’s ears and flashed it’s nose when a coin was inserted into a slot.
In 1978, Mike Corbin had the idea for a real Santa Sleigh. Mike was a gifted boat builder in his spare time and he brought his skills to bear by designing a new Santa Sleigh - The construction took place in a barn with the help of a small army of Elves, including Frank Johnston, Bob Tanner, Frank Carter, Ted Chalk and others, who cut, sawed and sandpapered the marine plywood to Mike's specifications then put the bits together before finally painting on the bright red colour.
Since then, Peter Cooper Ltd has maintained the Santa Float which involves servicing bearings, tyres, tow bar connections, lighting and sound system. When required Coopers have also regularly repainted the Santa Float, provided petrol for the generator and about 25 tins of sweets for distribution by Santa at no cost to the Club.
The Santa Sleigh has appeared each year since then to the delight and expectation of everybody both young and 'not so young'.
See Santa outside Waitrose until 4pm today and in Lymington High Street from 8am until 4pm tomorrow 22 December 2018. Then Santa will be returning to the North Pole for final preparations for his big night!