Santa’s spirit shines

Wanneroo Weekender - - Retail News - Tyler Brown

WITH big boots to fill and af­ter an 18-month search, Lake­side Joon­dalup Shop­ping City cel­e­brated the ar­rival of Santa Ray with the an­nual Santa’s Wel­come Pa­rade this month.

With a real long white beard and hon­est jolly hu­mour, Santa Ray was se­lected from more than 50 can­di­dates in the search to find some­one who could pos­si­bly fill the gap in ev­ery­one’s hearts af­ter the loss of beloved Santa Ken.

The cen­tre’s iconic Santa died ear­lier this year af­ter a bat­tle with metas­ta­sised me­lanoma.

His ca­reer spanned 29 years, with more than a decade at Lake­side Joon­dalup, where fam­i­lies from all over Perth would make an an­nual trip north to have their photo taken with him.

Santa’s Wel­come Pa­rade fea­tured the new man in red and white, along with the De­part­ment of Fire and Emer­gency Ser­vices march­ing band, husky sleigh dogs, dancers, stilt walk­ers and elves mak­ing their way through the malls be­fore ar­riv­ing at Santa’s throne in the Myer Cen­tre Court.

“I be­lieve my role in life is to in­stil the spirit of Christ­mas all year round and that it’s not all about presents,” Santa Ray said.

“Some­times Santa brings in­tan­gi­bles; he brings hap­pi­ness, hope and love to so many of us who have lost these im­por­tant things.”

Lake­side Joon­dalup cen­tre man­ager Gemma Han­ni­gan said many cus­tomers were dev­as­tated by the loss of Santa Ken.

“In mem­ory of Ken, we’ll be col­lect­ing do­na­tions for the Me­lanoma Foun­da­tion,” she said.

Santa’s Wel­come Pa­rade was held on Sun­day to cel­e­brate Santa Ray’s ar­rival.

Noah and Chloe chat to Santa Ray.

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