College catering assistant hangs up his apron to become Father Christmas

  • Date Published: Tuesday, 22 Dec 2015
  • Departments: Cross College,

A Shrewsbury College catering assistant swapped serving students sandwiches and coffee for handing out presents all the way from the North Pole to children in Bayston Hill.

William Darling, who has worked in the catering department at Shrewsbury College on London Road for two years, was invited to play Father Christmas at the Jingleation Woodland Walk at Parr’s Pool on Saturday.

Mr Darling was asked to step into Santa’s shoes by the Jingleation Committee, supported by Bayston Hill Village Association, and he even grew his beard especially for the part!

During the afternoon, Mr Darling saw around 80 children and asked them what they wanted for Christmas as well as giving each one a gift. All monies taken at the not-for-profit event went towards the gifts and transforming the two grottos and woodland walk into a festive wonderland complete with lights and music, hot chocolate, mulled wine and minced pies.

Mr Darling said: “The children had a little chat with me and their photos taken and told me what they wanted for Christmas. One eight-year-old girl wanted a chemistry set and her 10 year-old brother told me he was getting TV and an Xbox. I told him he would only be allowed on it for an hour a day and at the weekend, which made his dad laugh.

“I really enjoyed the event and think it will be even better next year. The organisers told me I did a good job so I’ll be back. It was wonderful to see all of the little happy faces and that’s the main reason for doing it.”

Ted Coxon, Commercial Manager at Shrewsbury College, said: “William is one of the most popular members of staff at the College. He is always helpful and goes out of his way to help others. So it’s no surprise to me that he gave his time for free to bring a smile to so many children this Christmas.”

Judy Shone, from the Bayston Hill Village Association, said: "We were delighted with William and hope he will do us the honour of being Father Christmas for us again next year. When you saw him in the grotto it gave you goosebumps he was so realistic!"

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