Vicky Meets… Santa and his friend Michael Moore, President of Chichester Lions Club
What can you tell me about The Lions Club, Michael?
Chichester Lions is one of over 700 clubs in the UK dedicated to providing a service to their
local communities. Non-political and non-sectarian, Lions Clubs International was founded
in Chicago, USA in 1917. A registered charity, Chichester Lions is a Charitable Incorporated
Organisation (CIO) and over the years we have raised over £1 million. Every penny goes to
charity, as all running costs are met by our membership fees. New members are always
welcome. Anyone over the age of 18 who is of good character can join. Being a Lion is all
about friendship, fellowship and, especially, fund raising. We help with local events as
stewards, assist local charities with their fundraising events and run our own fundraising
One of the big Lions fundraising initiatives is spectacles recycling. We have donation boxes
in opticians all over the country. The spectacles are then cleaned and graded at a depot in
France, then distributed to people who need them in Africa, India – all over the world. Any
unusable glasses get recycled by a company that grinds up the plastic to make bits of road
and outdoor furniture for schools and pubs, so nothing goes to waste.
Santa, you are an honorary Lion. Will you tell me about your famous carol float that tours
Chichester throughout December?
For fifty-seven years we have been visiting various estates and roads in Chichester from the
start of December, usually three nights a week, with Olive the Reindeer. I walk alongside the
float and we stop at various points to say hello to people and to wave at children in the
houses. With more estates being built I have to plot my routes very carefully, and I do try to
avoid areas where there are a lot of elderly folk who might not want to be disturbed.
Hopefully this year there will be a Santa Tracking app available, so you can check where I
Sometimes people come and put some pennies in our charity box – we even have a card
reader – but it’s not essential to make a donation. I just like to see all the happy faces.
It’s a busy time of year for me, but I happily come to Chichester because I recognise the
people here as having the true spirit of Christmas; they are generous, kind and of good
cheer. But I do I have a Chichester Naughty or Nice list, just in case. All the names are in
special ink that only I can read.
Will you be out and about in other local areas too?
I hope to make appearances in Bognor Regis, Midhurst and Petworth during the festive
What do you do for the rest of the year?
I am busy making toys, working on new Christmas jokes and keeping the elves happy.
To find out more about Santa’s whereabouts, follow Chichester Lions on Facebook.
For more information about Chichester Lions visit www.chilions.org.uk