Santa’s sack is full for hospice


A VOLUNTEER has filled some very big boots to raise cash for a worthy cause.

Hemel Hempstead resident Ralph Harvey dressed up as Santa to man the grotto at the town’s Snow Centre.

The 62-year-old even grew an extra bushy beard and long hair to ensure an authentic look for little ones.

He has had his hands full deciding who has been naughty or nice to raise a sack full of money for the Berkhamsted-based Hospice of St Francis.

Ralph, of Bathurst Road, beat off the cream of Hemel Hempstead’s Christmas crop in the Snow Centre’s Santa Search. Candidates were asked to submit 100 words on why they deserve to wear the famous red suit.

He said: “ I’m delighted to have been chosen as The Snow Centre’s Father Christmas and to have the chance to spread cheer to local youngsters while raising money for such a worthy cause.

“I’m a big believer in the true message of Christmas rather than its commercial manifestation, so I’m more than happy to do the job for free if it makes people smile.”

All proceeds from the grotto will be donated to the hospice, which supports patients and families living with life limiting illnesses.

The total amount raised has not yet been counted.