If anyone could steer clear of the elf’n’safety brigade, you’d think it would be Santa.
But it seems that after years of ‘dangerous’ sleigh-riding, they’ve finally caught up with him.
This year Santa and his elves have been banned from riding in his sleigh during their annual trip to see the children of Brighton and Hove.
Santa Claus (alias Alan Pocock) of Brighton Rotary Club who has been banned by insurers from riding on the annual sleigh
Despite the event, which raises thousands for charity, having run without a hitch for 40 years, insurers have now decided it is too dangerous – and say they will insure it only if Santa and his elves ride in the car pulling the sleigh.
Brighton Rotary Club, which organises the event, branded the decision ‘ridiculous’ – pointing out that since the sleigh travels at only 5mph there is little chance of Santa and his elves being dislodged.
But they have been forced to obey the diktat, and have now put a Snow Queen mannequin in the sleigh to stop thousands of children being disappointed as an empty sleigh glides past.
Club vice president Alan Pocock, 73, who has donned the Father Christmas outfit for the past ten years, said: ‘It’s ridiculous really that after 40 years of Santa riding in his sleigh he has now been banished to the towing car ... It’s all down to the insurance firm who say that if an accident were to occur then Santa would not be covered if he was riding in the sleigh.’
Santa's testing a sleigh. Sadly they wouldn't be able to use it in Brighton
Insurers told the charity they would have to install a seatbelt and a roll bar if they wanted to continue travelling in the sleigh. But Mr Pocock said: ‘Obviously we don’t want to do that because it could prove costly and it is important that every penny we raise goes to charity.
‘It’s a real shame because it is a tradition that has been going on for decades ... and delights hundreds of children each year.
‘However we will not let these restrictions bother us and we are still out with our sleigh bringing festive cheer.’ Even the Association of British Insurers were puzzled to hear about the situation.
Making light of the issue, they commented: ‘This is the kind of surprise we don’t like to hear about at Christmas. Despite checking it once and checking it twice we don’t know exactly what’s happened in this case, but Santa in a sleigh is usually neigh problem. Perhaps Brighton Rotary Club are on the naughty list?’