Larne’s own Santa steps down after 50 years in role

Jim and Frankie Dobbin.
Jim and Frankie Dobbin.

Tullygarley Community Group has thanked Jim Dobbin for his commitment after he steps down from the role of Santa after 50 years.

Tullygarley was just one district which has benefited from Jim’s dedication over the decades.

His skills were also called upon in Drains Bay, Ballygally and at a number of local sports clubs.

“It all started just after Frankie and I got married. She bought me a Santa suit from Canada.

“I just did it for family, usually at people’s homes and it sort of snowballed from there.”

Jim said that he would receive a last minute call to attend a children’s party and he would not want to let people down.

“I am over 80 now. I think I have done my bit but I will miss it.”

Over the years, he has had plenty of memorable experiences including running onto the pitch in his costume at a football match at Larne Football Club on Boxing Day.

“I will miss meeting and greeting people I have known all my life, going into their homes, wishing them a merry Christmas.”

He also recalled his visits to local nursing homes and mishaps with dentures and sticky lollipops.

However, he said that he will continue some visits, instead bringing his guitar for a singsong.

He went to on say that he has many happy memories of his Santa role which he carried out with Frankie’s help.

“It is nice to look back on it and see the work you have done. It keeps me young.”

In recognition of his commitment, Jimhas received a special certificate of appreciation from the Lions Club and lifetime membership of Cairndhu Golf Club and Larne Football Club.

He also played Santa at the former Kings Arms Hotel at Broadway in the town centre.

He joked: “It was hard getting from Tullygarley to Drains Bay and Ballygally all in the same night.

“I enjoyed it. It was nice to get the recognition from Tullygarley.”