Off-duty Rogerstone Santa buys antique one-horse open sleigh from Risca store

South Wales Argus: 'Santa Claus' (Roger Morgan) with the sleigh outside Ebenezers Emporium in Risca, with shop owner Sam Powell 'Santa Claus' (Roger Morgan) with the sleigh outside Ebenezers Emporium in Risca, with shop owner Sam Powell

DASHING through the snow, on a one-horse open sleigh...

That's the dream of Father Christmasses everywhere and now one Gwent Santa is a step closer, after he bought a real-life sleigh.

Off-duty Santa Claus, Roger Morgan of Rogerstone, was passing Ebenezer's Emporium in Risca last Friday when he spotted their antique working sleigh sat outside the shop.

"It's not the usual sort of thing you buy on a Friday," chuckled Mr Morgan, 53, who works as a historical events organiser when he is not bringing delight to children everywhere dressed as Father Christmas.

"I had been thinking about getting a sleigh for a long time and so I stopped and took a few photos. I got talking to the manager, Sam, and within five minutes we had done the deal."

Believed to be around 100 years old, the working sleigh is made of wrought iron and wood and needs some work doing to it, so it will not be ready for its grand unveiling until 2014, he said.

"I have been talking to someone about getting a small horse," said Father Christmas, whose suit is made from a pair of old curtains and topped off with an Eastern European man's winter hat.

"After all it is a one-horse open sleigh. I am in touch with some other Father Christmasses and they are all incredibly jealous. You very rarely see sleighs, even on eBay, they're mostly toboggans. It was purely by chance that I saw this one."

Sam Powell who runs Ebenezer's Emporium said the sleigh, which was bought for an undisclosed sum, usually spends Christmas at the family's other shop in Surrey, but he decided to bring it to Risca for this year's festivities.

It had only been outside on display for around half an hour before Father Christmas appeared, he said.

"This white-haired man walked in the door and said, 'this may be an unusual request but how much for your sleigh?'" said Mr Powell, whose grandfather Charlie Powell founded the store which originally sold Russian cars.

"He looked like Father Christmas. I didn't expect to sell it quite as quickly but it just seemed it was appropriate for it to go to Father Christmas. You don't get to sell a sleigh to Santa every day.

"We will keep an eye out for a replacement, it was beautiful and well-made so I am a bit sad to see it go."

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