Search

Dial ‘Ho-Ho-Ho’ for Ministry of Christmas emergency Santa service

PUBLISHED: 07:00 28 November 2017 | UPDATED: 08:19 28 November 2017

Santa school's Class of 2017 to tackle Christmas shortage. Picture: Ministry of Christmas

Santa school's Class of 2017 to tackle Christmas shortage. Picture: Ministry of Christmas

Ministry of Christmas

Moves to tackle a desperate shortage of Santas to help children get through Christmas is under way in east London in a converted Dickensian ragged school.

One trainee Santa learning what east London children want for Christmas. Picture: Ministry of Christmas One trainee Santa learning what east London children want for Christmas. Picture: Ministry of Christmas

The crisis in the National Elf Service is being healed by ‘Operation Santa’ to train up Father Christmas and his elves for the Big Day.

The operation is being coordinated by a Santa school which the Ministry of Christmas is now running at Stepney’s Ragged School Museum next to the Regent’s Canal.

Portly, bearded figures dressed in bright red winter coats with fur trimmings began their public appearance on Saturday when the Ministry opened its seasonal training centre with a pilot Santa’s Grotto to be rolled out by December 25.

Santa's little helpers? Youngsters in training for the National Elf Sevice. Picture: Ministry of Christmas Santa's little helpers? Youngsters in training for the National Elf Sevice. Picture: Ministry of Christmas

Youngsters flocked to the museum in Copperfield Road, formerly housing Dr Barnado’s Victorian Ragged School in the 19th century, to take part in six grotto training sessions through the day.

“We are using 20 years’ experience of making magic,” Santa School founder James Lovell, 52, said.

“This helps create an attraction to entertain children of all ages.”

Children at Stepney's Ragged School Museum watching Santas rehearse for the Big Day. Picture: Ministry of Christmas Children at Stepney's Ragged School Museum watching Santas rehearse for the Big Day. Picture: Ministry of Christmas

The Ministry started its Santa school in 1999, under the sub-departmental title of ‘Ministry of Fun’, to turn out fully-trained magical performers for grottos, department stores and public events.

It claims to be Britain’s only genuine professional yuletide training school.

Children were invited to watch the Santas and their elves in Stepney on Saturday in a dress rehearsal for the Big Day.

One trainee Santa showing a little girl how to post a letter to the North Pole with her Christmas 'wish' list. Picture: Ministry of Christmas One trainee Santa showing a little girl how to post a letter to the North Pole with her Christmas 'wish' list. Picture: Ministry of Christmas

They were also told they could meet the real Santa, if they were really good.

Some sceptical East End youngsters, however, questioned why Santa needed to go to school if he’s genuinely been doing Christmas rounds for centuries.

But Ministry of Christmas officials insist the real Santa does exist.

Their graduates are merely helping Old Nick when he can’t get to every rooftop chimney in the 24 time zones around the globe by midnight on Christmas Eve.

Latest East London News Stories

Yesterday, 15:37

The Jubilee line is now running but with serious delays to all stations.

Yesterday, 15:03

A Poplar man who slashed his victim with a carpet knife, narrowly missing his jugular vein, has been jailed for eight years.

Yesterday, 14:28

From 4.30pm Canary Wharf station will be entry only and Heron Quays station will be exit only due to the suspension of the Jubilee line.

Yesterday, 13:34

The long-running dispute between the senior coroner for inner north London, Mary Hassell and the area’s Jewish and Muslim communities might be coming to an end, as the decision will be given tomorrow on her refusal to prioritise burials.

Yesterday, 10:09

The Jubilee line has been suspended along the entire route due to a power failure.

Yesterday, 09:46

Candidates for Mayor of Tower Hamlets are this-evening joining the East London Advertiser on Facebook for a live questions-and-answers grilling from voters.

Wed, 22:57

Neighbourhood activists are campaigning to protect the last bits of green space left in Spitalfields to stop encroaching developers getting their hands on them.

Wed, 17:40

Hundreds of pupils got a live performance from one of Britain’s pioneering orchestras when 75 musicians turned up at their school in Bromley-by-Bow.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read news

Show Job Lists

Competitions

Having a brand new kitchen is something that lots of people want but can only dream of. Sadly keeping up to date and making our living spaces as nice as they can be is a costly and incredibly stressful business. Even a fresh coat of paint makes all the difference but isn’t easy or quick.

Who wouldn’t love the chance to go on a shopping spree. Imagine being able to walk into a shop and choose whatever your heart desires without having to worry about how much it costs.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Docklands and East London Advertiser
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now