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Festive visits could stop after Santa’s helpers abused in the street

The Aylesbury Rotary Christmas float has been attacked by louts

The Aylesbury Rotary Christmas float has been attacked by louts

Visits by Santa to Aylesbury children which have helped raise more than £250,000 for charity could be scrapped due to abuse towards organisers.

The Aylesbury Rotary carol float visits communities around the town every year to raise money for good causes.

But club past president Dr Sarah Fraser says they are being worn down by angry residents, and claims there have been incidents where people have attacked the float, by throwing stones.

She said: “There is a point at which we are not going to do it anymore. People have thrown rocks at us.

“We were in Quarrendon and three youths came round the corner and there was a thud on the back of the float. Last year some kids were trying to chase the float with hockey sticks.

“Parents complain that we come late and wake up their child or don’t go down their road or don’t stay long enough.

“Whilst these complaints are few and far between they are de-motivating for the very small team of motivated volunteers, organisers and collectors who give generously of their time to raise funds for charity.”

Dr Fraser said drivers also shout abuse at the float.

She said: “We will never not raise money for charity, it’s how we raise money. If we are going to be abused then we will stop.”

Dr Fraser said the group are not allowed to stay out after 8pm. They also operate with a skeleton crew, sometimes as few as four people.

Dr Fraser said: “One evening we only had female collectors, so a woman had to go up the chimney as Santa and we had people complain. If the town wants a male Santa then the men are going to have to come out and collect.”

Rebecca Short’s five-year-old daughter Lucy was left upset when Santa was unable to visit Isis Close last week, and there will no doubt be more upset children if the float does stop.

Mrs Short said: “She said ‘why didn’t Santa come and visit me?’ You try to explain but it’s very hard. It’s really disappointing for her.”

Dr Fraser apologised if people had been upset but said it is not possible for the float to visit every road each year.

The float, previously organised by Round Table, has been a fundraising event for over 40 years, raising more than £250,000 for charity.

Dr Fraser called on more people to volunteer next year so it can continue to be a success. So far this year it has raised nearly £4,000 for good causes.

 

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