Santa’s spirit shines
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.