The history of Santa's sleigh - built in Lymington!

Santa's new sleigh for 2018, built in Lymington!

Lymington Rotary's new sleigh built at Peter Cooper Ltd

Santa's new sleigh 2018For 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.

In 2018 a new sleigh was 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.

The history of Lymington's Santa Sleigh

Santa's sleigh in 1973 outside Moore BlatchIn 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.

Santa's sleigh in 1987 which has now been replaced in 2018In 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'.

The Rotary Club of Lymington

Rotary Club of Lymington runs two big community events annually to raise significant funds for local and international causes.  It is a wonderful, inclusive, social network for like minded individuals who feel able to "give something back" and serve their community, and who value the friendship of fellow members too.

New members are always welcome. Meetings are held on Wednesday lunch time 12.45 for 1pm in the Robert Hole Room at the Lymington Centre, except for the last Wednesday in the month when the meeting is held in the evening to make the Club more accessible to working Rotarians. The caterer at the Lymington Centre is well known local chef Fiona Hill of Real Food Catering who provides an excellent menu.

Evening meetings are held at the South Lawn Hotel in Milford on Sea: 6.30 for 7pm finishing by 8.30pm. South Lawn Hotel has an excellent reputation and is a well recommended hotel for visitors from other parts of the country. Several times a year Friends and Family are invited to evening meetings too.

Find out more about the Rotary Club of Lymington here.

Find here Christmas Events and things to do in the New Forest and Lymington area.

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