LETTERS to Father Christmas often get blown up the
chimney or pushed into a Post Office box.
But with the increase in central heating, the traditional chimney
is scarcer. How Santa Clause gets into houses without chimneys, of
course, raises certain philosophical questions too highbrow to discuss
here, but in Brierley at least the postal problems have been overcome.
Mrs June Hockey and her staff at the village Post Office place a
special post box in their shop every year just before Christmas for children
to send their private mail to Father Christmas Land.
Hockey circa 1980. Image reproduced from an old news cutting.
Since the idea came into effect three years ago the service
has become something of an institution in the village and children make
a special effort to get their festive requests off in time for the
presents to be prepared by Santa Claus and his helpers.
In fact Mrs
Hockey produces a letter on Santa Claus's behalf and sends one to every
child who puts a letter in the special box.
Each one is
personally addressed, and according to Mrs Belle Dyson, who works at the
Post Office, illustrates Mrs Hockey's "bubbling" attitude to the
children in the area.
is nice when the children come into the shop and post their
said Mrs Dyson. "Last year we had special visits from Brierley School
and it was a pleasure to see their faces."
At Brierley Church of
England School the five-year-olds in Mrs Ann Whitelam's class began
thinking about writing their letters in November and were all looking
forward to making the visit to the Post Office to make sure their requests
got to the North Pole in time.
the children had agreed to ask for only thing in their letter because to
ask for more than one would be greedy. They did point out that they were
hoping really for something extra, however. The presents being requested
these days also seem to reflect the changing times. Graham Elvidge wanted
a portable television set to watch his favourite cartoons, as did Craig
Yoxall, a keen addict of "superman". More traditionally Hayley
Wright and Sharon Hartshorne wanted beauty sets, though they did not seem
to need them, and Julie Cooper intended to ask for a "Wonder
for the other boys in the class, Darren Brown wanted a bicycle, while
racing cars had top priority with Stephen Cooke, Timothy Walls, Robert
Johnston and Robert Chaplin. Terri-Lea Mason wanted a racing bicycle while
Monica Morritt said she hoped to find a rocking horse at the foot of her
bed on December 25. It certainly looks as if Brierley Post Office will be
busy in the build-up to Christmas, handling 150 to 200 letters schools
children and pre-school inhabitants of the village send
Old newspaper cuttings
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