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Coulsdon's Santa sleigh is derailed due to insurance woes

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AN annual visit by Santa has been foiled by a lack of insurance for his 'sleigh'.

The Rotary Club of Coulsdon's festive tour of west Coulsdon to collect money for local charities will not be going ahead this year after organisers struggled to get the car and trailer insured.

The club's acting president Brian French said: "We are in a transitional state of changing our insurers and there have been a few anomalies as to what is and is not covered [on the vehicle].

"This year it is a bitter disappointment to us but also to those people who won't be able to contribute money [via the float] – many people collect over the year and bring out a carrier bag for us.

"People give very generously – we sound the music so people know we are there and people bring their children out and see Father Christmas who waits outside."

But Mr French said the Rotarians will be helping at the Coulsdon Yulefest, the Christmas festival in the town centre this weekend, where donations will be welcomed.

The club's trailer decorated with stained-glass-windows and angels has been a familiar sight in the run up to Christmas for more than 20 years.

The team typically collects more than £3,000 for local charities each year as the trailer passes through west Coulsdon including through Woodcote Valley Road, St Andrew's Road and Chipstead Valley Road.

Different charities take it in turns to collect with the Rotarians on different nights, while charities that cannot attend get a cut of the money collected.

Charities that have benefited have included the South East Cancer Help Centre, Marie Curie Cancer Care and the Old Coulsdon Centre for the Retired.

Rotary Club of Coulsdon member Gary Beckett said: "People would always come out of their houses to donate something."

The Rotary Club of Coulsdon Manor is a separate group and its Christmas charity collection around its patch including Old Coulsdon will be unaffected.

Mr French said he was "confident" the Rotary Club of Coulsdon's insurance problems would be fixed by next year.

"The Rotary International is confident that the problems will be ironed out," he said.

Anyone who wishes to donate can send cheques to the Coulsdon Rotary Club via Chipstead Golf Club, How Lane, Chipstead, Coulsdon, Surrey CR5 3LN. Or to acting president Brian French, 60 Court Avenue, Old Cousldon CR5 1HE. The club has recently supported the Philippines Typhoon Appeal with a Shelter Box.

Coulsdon's Santa sleigh is derailed due to insurance woes


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