Category Archives: Rotary Club KOT

Being Santa Claus in Kingston upon Thames

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Christmas in the UK is a very important part of the year, disregarding any religious meanings, it is a time of friendship, a time for giving and relieving, a time to be with the family, it is a special time for children, it has become highly commercialised. (see Getting the festive spirit ).

I have joined Rotary Club in Kingston upon Thames for the fellowship and also to give back to the community through service.

At this time of the year, the club erects a Christmas tree outside the Bentall’s Shopping Center, with its’ lights and Santa’s hut from which is played carols to attract the passing shoppers and to give an atmosphere.

Club members collect money for local charities, each member, where possible, taking turns to stand with a collecting bucket for any donations over just short of two weeks, devoting their time for free.

I was able to devote some of my time to this annual project, and some of this time was to be Father Christmas, Santa Claus, wearing his red cloak and having a long white beard.

It has not been the first time I have been Santa Claus, but by far this experience is proving to be the most rewarding.

Standing there being very conspicuous, many people just walk by in a dream, yet others, knowing the great work Rotary members undertake, placing a few coins into my bucket, sometimes even large bank notes.

But the best reward is to watch the children’s faces as they see me, or should I say Santa Claus.

Young children, and even old ones like me, believe that when we go to sleep on Christmas Eve, Santa Claus attach’s his reindeer to his sleigh, which is full of presents for every child in the world, and during the night he delivers each and every present to each sleeping child, often climbing down the chimney, leaving them at the foot of the bed or the base of the Christmas Tree. Santa also leaves little gifts, sweets, an orange, in a sock which should hang from the fire mantelpiece.

But, Santa needs to know what to bring, so often mommies and daddies will take the children to see Santa so he can ask what they want and then prepare the presents for delivery.

I keep my eyes open for approaching families with young children and wave to them and when the young children see Santa, their eyes light up, their faces beam, there is excitement. They often are brought up to Santa, and then they tell me what they want for Christmas.


When they have told Santa Claus, I then ask them if they will be good, to go to sleep early on Christmas Eve, and to leave Santa a mince pie, because “I will be very hungry delivering all the presents“.

Often the father will ask Santa if he would like a whiskey left too? Um, I wonder who for really?

Pure magic.

One young boy had written a letter to Santa detailing his list of presents he wanted. He addressed it as:-

Father Christmas,
29 Reindeer Road,
Christmas Lane,

He asked for a range of 15 presents and snow on Christmas Day.

Now I am getting the Christmas Spirit.

So happiness and goodwill to you all.

Santa joins the SHH (Special half Hour) Club

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Santa Claus wears the Richard Bacon, BBC Radio 5 Live, Special Half Hour (SHH) badge in Kingston upon Thames.

As part of the annual charity collection by the Rotary Club of Kingston upon Thames, members raise a Christmas Tree and dress-up as Father Christmas.

It was my time as Father Christmas today, and it was an honour and privilege to wear the SHH badge to bring joy and happiness to the shoppers and children.

Rotary Club’s, Kingston upon Thames, Father Christmas wears the SHH badge

Rotary Club of Kingston upon Thames
Even more on the Special Half Hour Club of BBC Radio 5 Live 
Special Half Hour, Radio 5 Live
More on the Special Half Hour badge of Radio Five Live
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Rotary Club of Kingston upon Thames

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It was back at the start of the 1980’s that I was invited to join the evening Rotary Club of Peterborough in the UK, at that time being the youngest member. It was an experience that would stay with me ever since, the friendship, the support, being able to in my small way, contribute to the community both locally and internationally.

My membership was short lived, as I had finished my task of computerising the toy manufacturer Peter Pan Playthings, and was offered the opportunity to work with Texas Instruments distributor in Saudi Arabia, as Software Manager, looking after customers who had purchased a TI computer, creating solutions to their individual needs. It was a job which would see me in Saudi Arabia for over five years.

Unfortunately, Rotary Club, and any such organisation was banned in The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, as was amateur radio (ham radio call sign G8YJQ) and other such hobbies or pastimes.

It was recently, that I became aware once again of Rotary, and in conversation with a member of the Kingston upon Thames Rotary Club, was invited to attend their meetings, and as time went on was invited to join once again.

Today was my induction into the Rotary Club at the Thursday lunch time meeting.

Although my work as a trainer, presenter, coach, takes me to many countries, being away from the UK, I am sure I can contribute to the club, to fellow Rotary members both in the Kingston Rotary Club and with members worldwide, including Malaysia.

A new chapter opens in my life, which I am looking forward to with eager anticipation.

Phillip Holt's Induction into Kingston Rotary Club wearing SHH

Wearing with pride the SHH and the Rotary Club Badges
after being inducted into the Rotary Club of Kingston upon Thames
by the Club President Peter Thompson

Oh, to Richard Bacon of the BBC‘s Radio Five Live late night show, and his Special Half Hour club (SHH), I can now wear with pride both badges.

Previous SHH Entries
Even more on the Special Half Hour Club of BBC Radio 5 Live
Special Half Hour, Radio 5 Live
More on the Special Half Hour badge of Radio Five Live
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