Hartlepool’s very own Santa could be in line for award after years of dedication to good causes

Jim Croll, dressed as Santa Claus. Picture by FRANK REID
Jim Croll, dressed as Santa Claus. Picture by FRANK REID

He’s the Hartlepool man who brings cheer to children every Christmas - and now he could be on the verge of great news himself.

Jim Croll, who has dressed as Santa Claus for charity every year since 1999, has been nominated for a Best of Hartlepool Award.

I see the kids enjoying it and the parents are really pleased that I am doing it as well

Jim Croll

Even though he is now 73, Jim is still donning the Father Christmas outfit just to see the joy it brings to children.

The Oxford Road resident is now suffering from COPD and a heart condition and he admits: “I am a bit long in the tooth.”

But it does not stop him from doing everything he can to back worthy causes.

Jim, who worked at British Steel for 17 years and ICI for 22 years before being retired on health grounds, is raising funds for St Aidan’s foodbank this year and already has eight bookings.

He was 52 when he started his charity efforts to say thank you to Freeman Hospital which helped his youngest son Michael who needed open heart surgery for heart defects as well as other operations.

He’s never stopped since and has now raised between £8,000 and £10,000.

After hearing of his nomination, Jim said: “I am very proud to think that someone believes I deserve this.”

He admits to feeling the effects of dressing up as Santa as “the temperature rises in the costume and it is notthe best when you have COPD and a heart condition.”

But Jim’s joy at seeing the smiles on children’s faces keeps him going.

“It’s the parents as well and you can see their attitude to having me there. People are really pleased that I am doing it.”

joins a growing list of entries for this year’s awards.

But we want more. This is your chance to give those very special unsung heroes the praise they so richly deserve. We have loads of categories enter your nomination in. Take a look at the list below and choose the right one for your community favourite.

In fact, don’t limit yourself to putting forward one hero. Feel free to put as many nominations in as you like as we are sure there are loads of worthy causes out there.

Here are the categories to choose from;

* Young Performer of the Year (Under 21);

* Green Champion;

* Student of the Year;

* Fundraiser of the Year;

* Volunteer of the year;

* Sporting Excellence;

* Community Group;

* Community Champion;

* Child of Courage;

* Child of Achievement;

* Emergency services award;

* Carer of the Year;

* Neighbour of the Year;

* Sports team of the year;

* Role model of the Year;

* Lifetime Achievement award.

Stagecoach, the Northern School of Art, Hart Biologicals, Joel D. Kerr Funeral Services, Utility Alliance Ltd, Tilly Baily and Irvine, the Hartlepool and Stockton-on-Tees Clinical Commissioning Group, and English Martyrs School and Sixth Form College are the backers in this year’s competition and we thank them all.

We want you to nominate people by post to Lynn Wild, Sunderland Echo, Alexander House, Rainton Bridge Business Park, Houghton-le-Spring, Sunderland. DH4 5RA.

Alternatively, you can email: lynn.wild@jpress.co.uk, or nominate at https://www.hartlepoolmail.co.uk/bestofhartlepool/.

The deadline for entries is Friday, October 26.