Santa makes surprise return to derelict furniture store in Ashtead
Santa Claus returned last month to a derelict furniture store to the surprise of the estate agents marketing the property.
For about five years a giant inflatable Santa Claus was erected each year by Cane Connection, the owners of the site on the A24 at Bramley corner, who specialised in cane furniture.
But when Cane Connection left the site about 18 months ago, so too did their Christmas tradition disappointing one family for whom it had become an important part of their family tradition.
Determined to keep the Christmas spirit alive, one of them constructed a home-made Santa, climbed through a hole in the site’s fence and erected it for all to see.
Bryan Elphick, of Elphick Estate agents said: “It was a bit of a mystery and we wondered how someone had got in.
It was quite nice coming in at Christmas to suddenly notice it there but it was a bit of a surprise.
It appeared out of nowhere and no one seemed to know anything about it.
It was noted as a seasonal gesture and it’s nice that the tradition that’s built up over the last few years of Father Christmas going up at those premises has continued.”
The mystery was solved on Friday after an anonymous letter was received following an abortive attempt to retrieve the stranded Santa.
The letter from the anonymous resident who has lived in the area for over 50 years read: “Over the years we often observed Santa Claus climbing up a ladder onto the roof of the garden centre on the left between Ashtead and Epsom, so much so that it became a kind of Christmas tradition to look out for him on our way past.
I was dismayed to discover that the garden centre had closed and therefore Santa was not due to make an appearance.
I decided to take matters into my own hands and created a Santa Claus from odds and sods, climbed through a hole in the fence and put him in myself.
I’d like to add that the hole in the fence was already there, and I didn’t create the hole.
I had intended to leave him there for a week or two, enough time for my offspring to see him, and then to retrieve him.
However, I drove to Ashtead during the week between Christmas and New Years to remove my creation only to discover the fence has been replaced.
I cannot get him back now, being over 50 I’m not going to attempt climbing over, although I did think about it.”
They added: “I sincerely apologise for causing you any trouble, it wasn’t my intention.
I was merely trying to keep the Christmas dream alive for my children and the children of Epsom and Ashtead.”
Mr Elphick has told new owners, Maidenhead Aquatics, about the Christmas tradition which he hopes it will now continue.
Previous owners, Cane Connection, was contacted but had not responded at time of press.