Banbury man's Santa Christmas give-away brings smiles to community

Prabhu Natarajan dressed as Santa and spent six hours on Saturday December 19 dancing and giving away toys and bags of sweets to children in the community.

Thursday, 24th December 2020, 11:07 am
Prabhu Natarajan dressed as Santa and spent six hours on Saturday December 19 dancing and giving away toys and bags of sweets to children in a Banbury neighbourhood.

His neighbour in a Banbury community, Tracy Hextall, believes he should be nominated for an award for his service to the community.

She said: "The fact that they have done so much for the community in such a short space of time is amazing. He has done food parcels for struggling families throughout the pandemic, raising money and donated to food banks.

"It really is admirable and such a selfless thing to do. It's really humbling to see.

Matthew Hextall collects a present from Prabhu Natarajan, who dressed as Santa to help raise the Christmas spirit in his Bretch Hill, Banbury neighbourhood

"I saw so many children go and visit him. I think the word really got around what he was doing, which was great. He was out there in the rain and shine and did it all day with a smile on his face."

Prabhu gave away nearly all the 166 toys and gifts he had set out in the garden of his Bretch Hill home. He also raised nearly £700 on the day and through an online Just Giving fundraising page he set up.

He plans to give £116 to five families in need, and another £116 to the Froude family. Luke Froude recently ran his tenth 10k in memory of his son, Finnley Froude, who would have turned 10 years old this year. Luke Froude and his wife, Gemma, have raised money in memory of their son, Finnley Foude, every year for the last decade for the Support for Sick Newborns And their Parents (SSNAP) charity.

Prabhu said: "It was really good people came. I am thankful for my neighbours. They were really supportive.

Matthew Hextall collects a present from Santa, Prabhu Natarajan, in the Bretch Hill neighbourhood of Banbury

"In the UK people celebrate Christmas and New Year's in a very big way. In India we celebrate festivals in a different way.

We decided to bring Santa and happiness to the community."

It's not the first time this year Prabhu has given his time and money back to the community.

Prabhu and his wife, Shilpa Natarajan, spent most of their seventh wedding anniversary last month buying 'essential' items for isolation food packs and then delivering them to people around Banbury throughout the day. Then a few weeks later he collected and delivered 606 items to make several dozen isolation packs for families in need during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

The 606 number comes from Prabhu wanting to help people whilst also marking his son, Addhu's sixth birthday coming up on January 18, 2021.

Tracy added: "Me and my children went down twice. I went down with my 2 year old and he got given sweets and a toy, and then I went down with my daughter to contribute to his donation box, which is all going to help feed families over Xmas and a box of chocolates for his family.

"My 2-year-son, Matthew, thoroughly loved it, and has asked to go back down and see him again. I've had to explain that Santa has gone back to the North Pole to help the elves."