30-years of being ‘Father Christmas’ but 2020 looks very different for Norfolk man

Nick Bird from Fakenham has been playing the role of Father Christmas for the last 20 years, visitin

Nick Bird from Fakenham has been playing the role of Father Christmas for the last 20 years, visiting towns and villages across Norfolk. Picture: Nick Bird - Credit: Archant

In the run-up to Christmas, Nick Bird would normally be spending his weekends as jolly Saint Nick, but this year looks very different.

Nick Bird from Fakenham has been playing the role of Father Christmas for the last 20 years, visitin

Nick Bird from Fakenham has been playing the role of Father Christmas for the last 20 years, visiting towns and villages across Norfolk. Picture: David Pulling - Credit: Archant

The 57-year-old has been playing the role of Father Christmas for the last 20 years, visiting towns and villages across Norfolk to bring the magic of Christmas to children across the land.

He originally started in the role after a friend of his needed a Santa for an event in Holt and asked him if he would step into the iconic role.

“I love doing it, it is great fun and seeing the wonder on children’s faces, it is nice when I see children from year to year, it is just lovely,” he said.

When he is not in the famous red suit, Mr Bird can be found selling houses at Bailey Bird and Warren estate agents in his home town of Fakenham.

Nick Bird from Fakenham has been playing the role of Father Christmas for the last 20 years, visitin

Nick Bird from Fakenham has been playing the role of Father Christmas for the last 20 years, visiting towns and villages across Norfolk. Picture: Nick Bird - Credit: Archant


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Last year, he made over 30 appearances as Saint Nicholas. This year, it is only six.

“I look forward to it for 11 months so it is a real shame when Christmas comes around and I am not doing it for another year,” he said.

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They are all looking very different, with his traditional breakfast with Father Christmas in Aylsham moving to zoom. While Santa will be practising social distancing in Sheringham.

Mr Bird believes the appearance of Father Christmas is important for Norfolk’s children for a number of reasons.

Nick Bird from Fakenham has been playing the role of Father Christmas for the last 20 years, visitin

Nick Bird from Fakenham has been playing the role of Father Christmas for the last 20 years, visiting towns and villages across Norfolk. Picture: Nick Bird - Credit: Archant

“That three or four minutes chatting to Father Christmas, it’s that art of escapism, where they can be listened to and have their wishes heard,” he said.

“They are so poignant, I had children asking for their mum to get better. It can be difficult and that is a real responsibility.

“Smaller children do believe I am father Christmas - so its my responsibility to stay in character.

“I think children do grow up too quickly; so the longer we can keep them in that bubble and keep the magic of Christmas alive is wonderful.”

There is still a chance that more events might happen this year, or be cancelled if the lockdown continues.

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