Santa is saved


Santa Claus will be coming to town after all - on a festive green bus.

A team from Coppice Steam have stepped in to save the popular Ilkeston tradition which sees Santa coming through town with his helpers.

Last week we revealed that Ilkeston and District Round Table did not have enough members to do the collection every night and would not be running the event this year.

Alan King, from Coppice Steam, who run steam vintage steam rallies in the town every year, said: “My wife was reading about it in the Advertiser and told me. I said ‘You’re joking.’ I was sat there drinking my cup of tea and rang my mate Clive and said ‘We should do something about it.’ It’s a bit of good charity for everybody and is a bit of something nice.”

As well as Santa on his bus there will be three or four people accompanying him on each side of the road. They will play music and make a number of stops in the three areas they will be heading through.

Mr King said he was able to get the event organised with the help of good staff and friends, including his granddaughter and daughter. The bus was provided by Dave Oils, who will join Alan and Clive Smedley on the journey through town. The three friends were instrumental in organising Santa’s trip through town.

The bus will do three journeys altogether, the first will be through Kirk Hallam tonight (Tuesday) from 6pm, Larklands tomorrow (Wednesday) from 6pm, and the Shipley View estate on Thursday from 6pm.

All money raised will go towards Ilkeston Hospital League of Friends. Mike Perry, chairman, said: “I would like to say a great big thank you to everyone.”

The Coppice Steam team hope to do the same again next year and have already sourced a sleigh.

Robert Severn from the Ilkeston and District Round Table said: “It is with sad regret that due to the low amount of active members the decision was made by the remaining members to look at the possibility of closing down the Ilkeston Table. We had to report back to the Area and National Executive Board with the decision and despite everyone’s best intentions and efforts to keep it alive, it was only recently confirmed that Ilkeston Round Table was to close.

“As a result of going through the process we were unable to use our registered charity details to apply for the necessary permit required by the council and also were not insured to collect, sadly this meant we could not carry out the annual Santa sleigh collection this year, regardless even if we had managed to keep the group going.

“All past members of IDRT would like to thank the people of Ilkeston for the support over all of the years and we are as upset as anyone that this long standing tradition has come to an end and apologise for any upset or distress caused.”

“We wish the Coppice Steam group well in taking over the reins.”

More info on the route: For those who have been asking about Santa’s bus route. Tonight it will start from the Cat and Fiddle Pub at 6pm and go down St Norbert Drive and the outer perimeter of Kirk Hallam, then into KH. They only have two hours so they will get to as many streets as they can.

Tomorrow it will start from the Park Drive area at 6pm, go down Green Lane, and on to streets in that area.

On Thursday it will start from The Mallard on Heanor Road at 6pm and head down Heanor Road, turning right in to the Shipley View Estate. Again, it will cover as many streets as it can in the two hours.