An Eye on...Santa Claus

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Indy Lifestyle Online
West Midlands: Paul James, 46, fled in terror shortly after putting on a Santa Claus costume at a countryside centre in Sedgley. His shock came when he discovered that a four-foot long corn snake had chosen Santa's beard as a comfortable resting place after it had slithered out of a water tank.

Worcestershire: The Rev Mark Woods, 37, the baptist minister for Alvechurch, has apologised for upsetting children by telling them that there is no Father Christmas. Several parents rang the school saying that their children were inconsolable. "I was talking about growing up and leaving things behind. I used Santa Claus as an illustration," said Mr Woods.

"I thought that the children would have known Santa did not really exist but I got it wrong. For that I am very sorry," he said.

Happiness: A survey reports that the greatest dream of 39 per cent of mothers at this time of year is to have their own personal Santa to do the shopping. Even so, 58 per cent would rather spend Christmas at home than on a beach in Australia.