Rudolph still going strong at 40

RUDOLPH the red-nosed reindeer had a very shiny nose. He also raises thousands each year, here in Ipswich by visiting your area. Today JAMES MARSTON finds out where you can see Rudolph and Genesis's church float this Christmas.

RUDOLPH the red-nosed reindeer had a very shiny nose. He also raises thousands each year, here in Ipswich by visiting your area. Today JAMES MARSTON finds out where you can see Rudolph and Genesis's church float this Christmas.

IT was 37 years ago that Rudolph first swept along the streets of Ipswich.

He has raised tens of thousands of pounds and entertained generations of children.

Former Round Table member Dev Murkerji remembers Rudolph's first outing back in 1970. He said: “We wanted to raise money for local charities and I think Rudolph was the idea of a fellow member called Peter Elsom.”

Using the services of Bernard Reynolds, the head of art at Suffolk College, the Round Table built Rudolph and Dev revealed: “He's made of papier mache with a wooden frame. We thought he would last a year or two. We had no idea he would still be going strong nearly 40 years later.

“We got him on the road that same year. He did very much then, as he does now. We took him round the streets of Ipswich to collect money.”

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Dev's scrapbook of the newspaper cuttings and pictures of Rudolph in the 1970s show he raised lots of money. He said: “In 1974 he raised £1,793 which was a lot of money in those days. In 1975 he raised more than £2,300. It is marvelous to see him still being used.

“Rudolph has brought a lot of pleasure to lots of children and it was great fun to be involved with. The Evening Star has always supported Rudolph by publishing the routes and when he's out on the street with the music its great to see people come out of their doors to have a look. He is part off the Ipswich Christmas.”

This year's organiser and Round Table member William Coe said: “Last year we raised about £7,500 and this year we aim to raise £10,000 for East Anglian Children's Hospices (EACH). For the last two years table have raised in excess of £25,000 each year, primarily for local childrens' charities.”

Rudolph will begin his rounds on December 3 in Bixley Drive and the Australia Estate. He will be at the following locations during the evenings in the run up to Christmas.

December 4 - Stoke Park

5- Bramford Road

6 - Christchurch Park East

7 - Woodbridge Rd

10 - Broke Heath and Warren Heath

11- California

12 - Newcroft

13- Rosehill

14- Chantry North

17 - Whitehouse

18- Rivers

19 - Belstead Hills

20 - Sidegate

21- Christchurch Park West

Check your Evening Star each night for route details.

Father Christmas' reindeer are a team of reindeer which pull his sleigh and help him deliver Christmas gifts.

The reindeer only fly on Christmas Eve.

Rudolph was the son of Donner, and was born with a glowing red nose, which made him a social outcast among the other reindeer.

One Christmas Eve it was too foggy for Father Christmas to make his flight around the world. About to cancel, Santa suddenly noticed Rudolph's nose, and decided it could be a makeshift lamp to guide his sleigh.

Rudolph now permanently leads Santa's sleigh as the cris-crosses the globe on Christmas Eve.

The Christmas Mountains of New Brunswick, Canada are named after the original eight reindeer. Dasher Dancer Prancer, Vixen, Comet Cupid, Donner and Blitzen.

Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer

had a very shiny nose.

And if you ever saw him,

you would even say it glows.

All of the other reindeer

used to laugh and call him names.

They never let poor Rudolph

join in any reindeer games.

Then one foggy Christmas Eve

Santa came to say:

"Rudolph with your nose so bright,

won't you guide my sleigh tonight?"

Then all the reindeer loved him

as they shouted out with glee,

Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer,

you'll go down in history!

GENESIS, formerly Orwell Mencap, is today putting the finishing touches to its annual church-style float.

Nino Serritiello, chief executive of Genesis said: “The float has been going a number of years and is a traditional sight on the streets of Ipswich and it's lovely to see the reaction of people, particularly children, as we drive around. Our aim this year is to raise about £6,000 which we will spend on updating our canteen which needs some new equipment.”

Genesis provides training, practical activity and day and domiciliary care for people with learning, physical and sensory disabilities. The charity's site in Wright Road Ipswich has facilities including a garden furniture workshop as well as a sensory room with water bed, spa bath, bubble tubes and music to produce various moods, pottery room, physical management room, award winning garden, craft workshops, restaurant and a fully equipped IT suite.

Nino said: “During the week there are an extensive range of activities from live music, yoga and aromatherapy to IT, gardening and exercise sessions, but the charities 100 or so clients also want to be fully part of the community and independent, so they are supported to access off site facilities and activities such as horse riding, swimming, bowling and shopping.

“Many also work in the furniture workshop, as receptionists, in house journalists, gate keepers and site maintenance staff. Everything is about providing purposeful activities, development of skills and a place where people can use as a base to regularly attend, socialise and contribute to society.”

With about 50 people taking part the church float will include people dressed in Victorian costume, a nativity scene and moving choir.

Nino added: “The men dress up in long coats and top hats and the women in shawls and bonnets. We look forward every year to taking the float around the town.”

The Genesis float will be at the following locations:

December 4 evening - Grange Farm

5 day and evening - Tesco Copdock car park Ipswich

6 day and eve - Ipswich Town centre

7 evening - streets around Felixstowe Road Ipswich

10 day and evening - Ipswich Town Centre

11 evening - Grange farm streets

12 day and evening - Morrisons car park Ipswich

14 evening - Streets around Sidegate Lane Ipswich

17 day and evening - Asda Car park Ipswich

18 evening - Grange Farm streets

19 day and evening - Sainsburys Hadleigh Road Car park Ipswich

20 day and evening - Ipswich Town Centre

21 evening - Streets around Cauldwell Hall Road Ipswich

What are your memories of Rudolph? Do you benefit from Genesis? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail

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