Paper Round: a rapping Santa, a choral catastrophe - and a novel way to keep the kids quiet

Third Sector's round-up of weird and wacky charity stories in the build-up to Christmas

Behold! What is that strange new star twinkling above your garden shed? Almost certainly next door's kids messing about with your torch on the roof again – but it might just be Paper Round's fairy-lit sleigh, distributing Christmas gifts to all well-behaved Third Sector readers offering a gulp of decent sherry.

Whatever it is, it certainly isn't Santa up there. According to the BBC News website, the tipsy Laplander is refusing to budge from the car park of a Belfast Tesco after store officials had the temerity to try to evict him and his grotto because of complaints about his choice of Christmas music.

The set-up was supposed to raise money for the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign, but Santa's 'Christmas rap' didn't jingle the bells of local residents. "It's been absolutely disgusting," huffed the large-girthed spreader of goodwill to all men. "I just cannot believe they are stopping Santa for Christmas. It's just unbelievable."

Tesco said it had offered an alternative site, but our man with the fake beard said he hadn't heard a dickie bird about it and he and his elves weren't budging.

Meanwhile, members of a Cornish charity choir are equally miffed after local Tories "duped" them into signing up for a Christmas carol concert that would have raised money for party coffers as well as charity. reported that Helston Chamber Choir believed all the proceeds of the event would go to St Julia's Hospice, part of Cornwall Hospice Care. But when members found out that they were being invited to break charity law by getting involved in a political fundraiser, they sang blue murder. 

The event was hastily cancelled, but the choir sent a "stinging" letter to the local Conservative Association demanding an explanation and compensation for their expenses and embarrassment. The association obliged and said the whole thing was down to a cock-up in the communications department.

There was a cock-up in the social responsibility department in Weymouth after hoodlums smashed Christmas decorations and swiped a charity collection box from a local garden.

The Dorset Echo reported that the bulbtastic display had been mounted by a community nurse in aid of Julia's House children's hospice. Onlookers were invited to drop a sixpence into the box, which was attached to the wall.

But this being Christmas, there is a happy ending: the stolen box was as empty as Scrooge's heart.

By contrast, the Oxfam clothes collection banks of Lincolnshire are very well populated – with children. According to BBC News, nippers are being put through the hatches of the banks in order to bag the swag. One skip in the car park of Skegness Morrison's has been targeted five times, and police are concerned that one of the little ragamuffins might get trapped.

If only the store had stepped into the Belfast breach and offered Santa a home for his evicted grotto, the kiddies could have acquired a pair of round-ended scissors and cut a ho-ho-hole in the grinning old fool's present sack without the slightest risk of injury. But what, pray, is that appalling music?

Ah – it's a Christmas wrap.

Read Paper Round every week on the back page of Third Sector magazine, published next on January 12



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