Time to farewell Palmerston North's 'Santa'
Heart failure claiming popular figureEMMA HORSLEY
A Palmerston North man who put the joy into Christmas for thousands of youngsters is losing the battle with his health.
Reg Shaw has opened his home, under the guise of Santa's Magical Workshop, to children and their families for 14 years, handing out thousands of donated toys and giving them the opportunity to see the Christmas decorations he and his family spend hours installing.
Mr Shaw has been fighting congestive heart failure, kidney failure and heart disease for some time and even when his health failed last year it did not stop him from rallying the community to donate toys for kids.
His daughter, Vanessa Simpson, contacted the Manawatu Standard yesterday saying she wanted people to know how her father was and give them the opportunity to say goodbye.
"He has not only been my dad but also a father to Palmy too."
Mr Shaw had spent time at Arohanui Hospice but returned home to spend his last days, she said.
Mrs Simpson, who had brought her wedding forward to April so her father could walk her down the aisle, said she wanted people to remember Mr Shaw as a fun friendly Santa.
The family was keeping a bedside vigil so someone was with him during his last hours.
"His love was getting people to believe in the magic of Christmas and he was always getting letters from little boys and girls saying thank you. Now those letters are saying thank you and goodbye, which is lovely."
Mrs Simpson said her father was not responsive any more and she expected his fight to not last much longer.
Mrs Simpson's husband, Steven, said Santa's Magical Workshop on Tremaine Ave would carry on as he had promised to take over the role of Santa.
"It will be hard because Reg won't be there but I know it's something he wants me to do."
The family wanted to thank everyone who had sent good wishes or donated toys over the years.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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