SHIPYARD manager Chris Proctor was stunned when staff at A&P Tees voted him the man most like Father Christmas.
Young workers at the South Bank ship repair yard needed the perfect Santa to spearhead a fundraising Christmas Fayre they are staging on Sunday, December 4, at Stewart Park in Middlesbrough.
So they approached the 59-year-old docking manager because they thought he “was the closest guy in the yard to match Santa’s description.”
Project engineer Sally Weston, 23, who’s helping organise the Fayre, said: “I don’t know how pleased he was about that but luckily for us he accepted!
“He was our unanimous choice when we had to pick the person who most resembled Santa.
“We weren’t thinking of his physique, it was more his cheery presence . Chris is always laughing and smiling around the yard and he seemed right at home in the suit!”
Chris, who’s worked for A&P for nearly 30 years, said: “At first, I didn’t know whether to take it as a compliment or not but I said I’d do it.
“It’s not a part I’ve played before, not even for my own kids, so I may need a bit of practise but now I’ve got over the shock I’m really looking forward to it.”
The Christmas Fayre, which runs from 11am to 4pm with free entrance, is the first of many events that an eight-strong A&P Tees team are holding over the next four months.
Sally, the team leader, said: “We’re competing in the Zero 2 Hero fundraising campaign for the Prince’s Trust, which helps disadvantaged young people return to education or find employment.
“The aim of the competition is to turn £500 into £5000 over the next four months.
“It’s a daunting prospect but we’ve got lots of ideas and quite a few events lined up, starting with the Christmas Fayre.”
The team tasked with delivering a giant profit for the Prince’s Trust are all aged between 18-28 and had to pass a “Dragon’s Den” style grilling to ensure they were worthy contenders for the charity’s £500 “investment” in them.
The Christmas Fayre will feature arts and crafts stalls, food stalls, pony rides, a Santa’s Dash charity run and, of course, Santa’s Grotto, where Chris will swap his hard hat and hi-visibility jacket for a big, white beard and bright red costume.