Rudolph finds new home to hibernate

TINSEL, baubles, and fairy lights have been tucked away in their boxes and consigned to the loft.The needle-less Christmas tree has been shredded, cards taken to the recycling centre, and Santa is in hibernation with only 290 days to the big day again.

TINSEL, baubles, and fairy lights have been tucked away in their boxes and consigned to the loft.

The needle-less Christmas tree has been shredded, cards taken to the recycling centre, and Santa is in hibernation with only 290 days to the big day again.

But while most of us are gearing up for spring and summer and some better weather, one character is looking forward to getting his head down for a well-earned rest.

He is Santa's best-known reindeer, red-nosed Rudolph, who ought to be asleep by now.

But sadly the deer has had nowhere to stay – until the Port of Felixstowe stepped in with an offer of help.

It may be the unglamorous-sounding Shed 93, but any port in a storm, as they say on quaysides.

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Rudolph certainly looked a little out of place standing in the Dock Basin next to cranes, tugs and warehouses, before being led away to the comfort of his new quarters.

"I don't think he'll cause any problems. He's quite easy to look after – and he is looking forward to a rest," joked Jonathan Gooch, chairman of Ipswich Round Table 240.

The 11ft tall reindeer has been touring parts of Ipswich for 30 years with his crew of Round Table Snowmen, bringing festive cheer to young and old alike.

Last December, the three weeks of nightly journeys, coupled with the proceeds of a summertime golf day at Waldringfield, raised more than £6,000.

The money has been divided between Ipswich Blind Society and the purchase of an interactive classroom whoteboard, laptop and software for Heathside School, with some kept back for needy causes' emergencies during the year.

But after Christmas, Rudolph found himself homeless.

Mr Gooch said the reindeer had been stored for free in various places over the years but storage was now a prime asset.

"Storage has become worth a lot of money and there is great commercial pressure now on those who run such facilities," said Mr Gooch.

"People have been very kind over the years but this year Rudolph has become homeless."

After an appeal on Radio Suffolk, the Port of Felixstowe stepped in to offer Shed 93 as a new home.

"We cannot thank the port enough – we know he will be safe here and it's a fantastic help to us," he said.

He also thanked other helpers of the Rudolph project – Indespension Trailers, John Gross, A Plant, Axa, Henley Risk Management and Ipswich port.

Felixstowe port corporate affairs officer Rachael Jackson said: "We are very pleased to help in this instance, but unfortunately we are unable to offer the same to everybody as there are limitations on our storage space, too."

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