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Santa’s hospital visit swaps sleigh for vintage truck

Visitors to York Hospital had a surprise recently to see Santa had ditched his sleigh in favour of a vintage armoured vehicle to deliver his Christmas gifts.

Instead of the jingle of sleigh bells, Santa arrived in a world war two Morris Quad Artillery Truck to deliver more than 200 presents to the hospital on behalf of the Yorkshire Air Museum at Elvington.

An appeal by the museum saw visitors, volunteers, supporters, local businesses and children from Elvington Primary School come together to gather toys for the children’s ward at York Hospital.

The festive gesture follows a tradition going back to world war two when the French squadrons based at RAF Elvington made 204 toys for the children of York and delivered them on Christmas Eve. Using any scraps of material to hand, toys were produced of all types and descriptions. Model boats, aeroplanes, cars, dolls and houses, tiny kitchens with pots and pans and all sorts of things appeared as if by magic, made with love and imagination.

Ian Richardson, Head of Memorials, Heritage and Media Communications at the Yorkshire Air Museum, explained: “Our idea to switch the focus of Christmas to be a time of giving rather than receiving has really caught the imagination of the local community.

“We are delighted with the response and we hope the children on the ward at York Hospital over the festive season will be pleased. This admirably reflects the gesture of goodwill by the Mechanics Section of the French Squadrons based at RAF Elvington, who on Christmas Eve 1944, delivered 204 hand-made toys to the Mansion House for the sick and needy children of the city.”

Joe Fenton, community fundraiser for York Teaching Hospital Charity, said: “It’s always a pleasure to welcome Santa to the children’s ward but this is the first time we’ve seen him arrive in an armoured vehicle! It caused quite a stir – especially as he brought over 200 Christmas gifts along.

“Thank you to the Yorkshire Air Museum and the people of Elvington for their generosity and for Santa for making this special visit for the children at York Hospital. It means all children that have to spend time on the ward will experience the magic of Christmas.”

Delivery of toys from Elvington Museum 2

24 December 2019

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