Get out Claus...how a battle of the Santas erupted when a council said two Father Christmases would truamatise children

Echo: Get out Claus...how a battle of the Santas erupted when a council said two Father Christmases would truamatise children Get out Claus...how a battle of the Santas erupted when a council said two Father Christmases would truamatise children

A BATTLE of the Santas erupted in Canvey town centre after council officials feared children would be “traumatised” by seeing two Father Christmases in the same high street!

Upset volunteers from the Friends of Concord Beach charity have spoken out after a conflict broke out at Canvey’s annual Christmas light switch-on over concerns there were one too many Santa sleighs in town.

The charity was confronted by representatives from Canvey Town Council who claimed that as the Canvey Rotary Club was arriving with their sleigh, they must take its down, despite queues of children waiting to visit.

The council told the charity that youngsters could be distressed at seeing two Santas in the same shopping street.

Colin Letchford, chairman of the Friends of Concord Beach charity, who dressed up as Santa, said: “Everyone was having fun and then an official in a high-visibility jacket came over and told us we had to get out of here and I couldn’t sit on the sleigh.

“They said we couldn’t have two Santas in one Christmas market because it would traumatise the children.

“It was absolute nonsense. I couldn’t believe it.

“We were not collecting any money or breaking any rules, we were just there to entertain the children.”

The charity carries out vital work to improve Concord beach and has a stall at the Christmas event every year.

Members claim they were asked to transform their carnival float into a Santa sleigh after concerns the rotary club’s Santa sleigh might not have been able to attend.

Fellow member Barry Palmer said: “I was so upset and my wife was absolutely fuming.

“It was ridiculous. There was a Santa walk a few weeks ago, what do they think happens where there are hundreds of them running down the road?

“Someone from the town council came over and said we had to take everything down and tell all the children to leave, but I refused.

“I didn’t get the feeling the council wanted to do it or cause any trouble, because we work with them very closely, but they had been scared into doing by some objectors.

“It was such a shame because the people at GMD supplies worked really hard to make the sleigh look fantastic.”

The Echo tried contacting the rotary club and Canvey Town Council for a response but they were unavailable for comment.

Canvey town councillor Dave Blackwell said: “I’m not too clear on the details, but there was an issue with there being one Santa sleigh at one end of the town and another at the other end, so I understand someone from the town council said one had to go as it would upset the children.

“It is a bit ridiculous to be honest, because if you walk down any high street, you could see four or five different Santas at one time.

“I think it was just a misunderstanding.”

Comments (15)

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9:26am Sat 28 Dec 13

Bettycraven says...

As a parent it's not hard to explain to your child why you may see a few santa's around town, argue about something a bit more worthwhile!
As a parent it's not hard to explain to your child why you may see a few santa's around town, argue about something a bit more worthwhile! Bettycraven

9:54am Sat 28 Dec 13

DogsMessInLeigh says...

How silly of the council...but then they do do the most foolish of things sometimes and live on differant planets to normal people,, so when the kids go to any other shopping centre they will see a Santa...and another in another shopping centre and another..children that believe wouldn't really question it.

so whats the name of this 'council' person(s) whose idea it was to ban 1 Santa..?
How silly of the council...but then they do do the most foolish of things sometimes and live on differant planets to normal people,, so when the kids go to any other shopping centre they will see a Santa...and another in another shopping centre and another..children that believe wouldn't really question it. so whats the name of this 'council' person(s) whose idea it was to ban 1 Santa..? DogsMessInLeigh

9:54am Sat 28 Dec 13

Nowthatsworthknowing says...

It was , as I heard more of a case, of sour grapes from the Rotary club, who allowed the friends of Concord Beach to be used to supply volunteers, with Santa and Grotto, building up crowds of excited children, until "they" the Rotarians decided to muscle in, with their versions of this Christmas spectacle.
Nothing what so ever to do with upsetting the kids, more a case of "we are the Rotary Club" get out...
It was , as I heard more of a case, of sour grapes from the Rotary club, who allowed the friends of Concord Beach to be used to supply volunteers, with Santa and Grotto, building up crowds of excited children, until "they" the Rotarians decided to muscle in, with their versions of this Christmas spectacle. Nothing what so ever to do with upsetting the kids, more a case of "we are the Rotary Club" get out... Nowthatsworthknowing

9:57am Sat 28 Dec 13

Nowthatsworthknowing says...

Like many a Rotary club, they tend to think as themselves as the Saviours of all things charitable, gives them another excuse for a good Back slapping party...
Like many a Rotary club, they tend to think as themselves as the Saviours of all things charitable, gives them another excuse for a good Back slapping party... Nowthatsworthknowing

10:01am Sat 28 Dec 13

DogsMessInLeigh says...

Ok so the Echo writer has wrote it all wrong then, and the rumour going around it was the Rotary's.
Ok so the Echo writer has wrote it all wrong then, and the rumour going around it was the Rotary's. DogsMessInLeigh

10:02am Sat 28 Dec 13

_Lotus_ says...

oh for God's sake, the objectors need to grow up!!!

Distress the children??? Then distress them, they willl suffer more distress later on when they get out into the big wide world believe me and seeing multiple Father Christmases will not be one of those!!!!

Seriously, things are getting worse in this country, it has now gone beyond bordering on the ridiculous, it is now smack in the middle of "ludicrously painful".

I am embarrassed to be part of society at times I can tell you!!!!
oh for God's sake, the objectors need to grow up!!! Distress the children??? Then distress them, they willl suffer more distress later on when they get out into the big wide world believe me and seeing multiple Father Christmases will not be one of those!!!! Seriously, things are getting worse in this country, it has now gone beyond bordering on the ridiculous, it is now smack in the middle of "ludicrously painful". I am embarrassed to be part of society at times I can tell you!!!! _Lotus_

1:34pm Sat 28 Dec 13

emcee says...

I hope the council are suitably embarassed.
I hope the council are suitably embarassed. emcee

2:39pm Sat 28 Dec 13

cheekycherry says...

Wasn't it also Canvey where the triangular flapjacks were banned as they could be used as a weapon?
Wasn't it also Canvey where the triangular flapjacks were banned as they could be used as a weapon? cheekycherry

3:17pm Sat 28 Dec 13

Nowthatsworthknowing says...

Nowthatsworthknowing wrote:
Like many a Rotary club, they tend to think as themselves as the Saviours of all things charitable, gives them another excuse for a good Back slapping party...
Trouble being many a local councillor is also a rotarian giving rise to the old old question, of a conflict in interests.
Not so much in duplication of Santa's but the mismanagement of many a contract, on Canvey...
[quote][p][bold]Nowthatsworthknowing[/bold] wrote: Like many a Rotary club, they tend to think as themselves as the Saviours of all things charitable, gives them another excuse for a good Back slapping party...[/p][/quote]Trouble being many a local councillor is also a rotarian giving rise to the old old question, of a conflict in interests. Not so much in duplication of Santa's but the mismanagement of many a contract, on Canvey... Nowthatsworthknowing

3:30pm Sat 28 Dec 13

yellowfairy says...

Ha ha ha, what goes round comes round, the i don't care about others behaviour and attitude of concord "football club" who think they are above all else, leaves a lot to be desired.
Ha ha ha, what goes round comes round, the i don't care about others behaviour and attitude of concord "football club" who think they are above all else, leaves a lot to be desired. yellowfairy

4:47pm Sat 28 Dec 13

John T Pharro says...

yellowfairy wrote:
Ha ha ha, what goes round comes round, the i don't care about others behaviour and attitude of concord "football club" who think they are above all else, leaves a lot to be desired.
And your contribution to society is?
[quote][p][bold]yellowfairy[/bold] wrote: Ha ha ha, what goes round comes round, the i don't care about others behaviour and attitude of concord "football club" who think they are above all else, leaves a lot to be desired.[/p][/quote]And your contribution to society is? John T Pharro

4:59pm Sat 28 Dec 13

Nowthatsworthknowing says...

Ive just been in contact with friends at the BBC, as anything Canvey seems to be worthy as a news item these days, and I quote...
A Father Christmas was told to leave a town centre over fears children would be "traumatised" by the sight of two Santas in the same street.

Colin Letchford, from the Friends of Concord Beach charity, dressed up as Santa during the Christmas lights switch-on in Canvey Island, Essex.

The group claims he was told to pack up by a council official before the Canvey Rotary Club's Santa arrived.

It was feared seeing a pair of Santas could upset and confuse children.

Mr Letchford said the charity took its illuminated sleigh to the lights switch-on, where "lots of children had their photo taken with Santa" at no charge.

He said: "A town council officer told us we had to take our Santa away as the Rotary Club Santa had arrived at the other end of the Christmas market round the corner.

"My members were spoken to quite aggressively."

Mr Letchford said volunteers were told by the official "It's time you lot got out of here...tell them children to get away from your sleigh".

'Angry faces'
In a letter to the Castle Point Echo newspaper, Barry and Dot Palmer, from Friends of Concord Beach, a small group which aims to protect and maintain the sea water paddling pool in the town, described the incident as a "sad state of affairs".

They added: "The biggest trauma was the one clearly visible on the faces of the children queuing to see Santa when the officials turned them away, coupled with the anger on the faces of their adults."

Dave Blackwell, of Canvey Town Council, said it appeared there had been "a little bit of confusion" and "common sense went out of the window".

"All we know is somebody in a yellow tabard went and asked them to stop because it was apparently traumatising children," he told the newspaper.

Mr Blackwell has asked officials to look into the incident on 30 November.

Images courtesy of Canvey Rotary Club/Friends of Concord Beach
Ive just been in contact with friends at the BBC, as anything Canvey seems to be worthy as a news item these days, and I quote... A Father Christmas was told to leave a town centre over fears children would be "traumatised" by the sight of two Santas in the same street. Colin Letchford, from the Friends of Concord Beach charity, dressed up as Santa during the Christmas lights switch-on in Canvey Island, Essex. The group claims he was told to pack up by a council official before the Canvey Rotary Club's Santa arrived. It was feared seeing a pair of Santas could upset and confuse children. Mr Letchford said the charity took its illuminated sleigh to the lights switch-on, where "lots of children had their photo taken with Santa" at no charge. He said: "A town council officer told us we had to take our Santa away as the Rotary Club Santa had arrived at the other end of the Christmas market round the corner. "My members were spoken to quite aggressively." Mr Letchford said volunteers were told by the official "It's time you lot got out of here...tell them children to get away from your sleigh". 'Angry faces' In a letter to the Castle Point Echo newspaper, Barry and Dot Palmer, from Friends of Concord Beach, a small group which aims to protect and maintain the sea water paddling pool in the town, described the incident as a "sad state of affairs". They added: "The biggest trauma was the one clearly visible on the faces of the children queuing to see Santa when the officials turned them away, coupled with the anger on the faces of their adults." Dave Blackwell, of Canvey Town Council, said it appeared there had been "a little bit of confusion" and "common sense went out of the window". "All we know is somebody in a yellow tabard went and asked them to stop because it was apparently traumatising children," he told the newspaper. Mr Blackwell has asked officials to look into the incident on 30 November. Images courtesy of Canvey Rotary Club/Friends of Concord Beach Nowthatsworthknowing

5:00pm Sat 28 Dec 13

Nowthatsworthknowing says...

John T Pharro wrote:
yellowfairy wrote:
Ha ha ha, what goes round comes round, the i don't care about others behaviour and attitude of concord "football club" who think they are above all else, leaves a lot to be desired.
And your contribution to society is?
About the same as yours, sweet F.ALL
[quote][p][bold]John T Pharro[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]yellowfairy[/bold] wrote: Ha ha ha, what goes round comes round, the i don't care about others behaviour and attitude of concord "football club" who think they are above all else, leaves a lot to be desired.[/p][/quote]And your contribution to society is?[/p][/quote]About the same as yours, sweet F.ALL Nowthatsworthknowing

12:44pm Sun 29 Dec 13

yellowfairy says...

John T Pharro wrote:
yellowfairy wrote:
Ha ha ha, what goes round comes round, the i don't care about others behaviour and attitude of concord "football club" who think they are above all else, leaves a lot to be desired.
And your contribution to society is?
A lot more respectful than theirs.
[quote][p][bold]John T Pharro[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]yellowfairy[/bold] wrote: Ha ha ha, what goes round comes round, the i don't care about others behaviour and attitude of concord "football club" who think they are above all else, leaves a lot to be desired.[/p][/quote]And your contribution to society is?[/p][/quote]A lot more respectful than theirs. yellowfairy

5:55pm Sun 29 Dec 13

Living the La Vida Legra says...

yellowfairy wrote:
Ha ha ha, what goes round comes round, the i don't care about others behaviour and attitude of concord "football club" who think they are above all else, leaves a lot to be desired.
Paid up member then?
[quote][p][bold]yellowfairy[/bold] wrote: Ha ha ha, what goes round comes round, the i don't care about others behaviour and attitude of concord "football club" who think they are above all else, leaves a lot to be desired.[/p][/quote]Paid up member then? Living the La Vida Legra

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