Santa sleighed: South Cambridgeshire villagers upset by attack on inflatable Father Christmas
A large inflatable Father Christmas has been damaged in a suspected knife attack.
The 8ft-high Santa was outside the home of Louise Stokley and was initially put up as a joke by her son, after she had told him she did not want anything going up in front of the house. But on Wednesday November 25, Louise and her family awoke to find the Santa deflated and lying on the ground. He had only been put up the Saturday before but was already a favourite for photographs among passers-by.
Louise said: “There’s just a straight slit down the front of its face so it looks like it’s been stabbed by a knife. It’s a clean cut, straight down.
“We live in between Ickleton and Great Chesterford. He was up at 12 o’clock at night and we got up in the morning and he was deflated on the floor.”
Louise added: “We don’t know whether it’s just kids... we don’t actually know what happened to him. There’s no trees around, there’s no bramble or anything like that. He was stood in the middle of a grassy area pumped up, so someone must have stabbed him – it’s the only way it could have been done.
“All we can think of was that it was just youths driving around the local area bored, and they’ve just decided to do this. But we don’t know; we’ve got no proof so we don’t want to go accusing anybody.”
Louise says the ‘sleighing’ has caused a stir in the village, adding: “The amount of people who have been messaging me saying, ‘Oh my goodness, we love the Santa, he waves at you as you come round the corner...’
“The morning that he was deflated, I had so many people sending me messages – and I didn’t even realise he’d been deflated; it was only through people sending me messages. I was thinking, ‘What are they going on about?’ and of course we went out there and found he’d got this big slit down the side of his face.”
Louise, who runs a care agency which goes out and visits people in their own homes, added: “It’s caused quite a stir with all the elderly clients as well. They’ve been asking how Father Christmas is, and we’ve been telling them the tale of what’s happened and their families are all getting involved – it’s just gone mad.”
Louise added: “We could not believe the response that we got just from this inflatable Santa – and of course my son’s been really smug, saying, ‘see, I told you people would like it!’.
“And actually, I’d started to warm to him because I realised how much fun it was. There’s a lot of children in the village that go to Great Chesterford School so they’ve been passing him in the morning and it’s brought a lot of joy to their faces. But now Santa has died and he wasn’t even there a week!”
However, all is not lost and Louise hopes to nurse him back to elf.
“What we were thinking of doing is trying to put some sort of duct tape over the slit and then wrap a bandage around his head,” she said, “to see if we can revitalise him. We’re going to try and see if we can bring him back to life.”