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Ambulance worker dons Santa outfit for hospital present giveaway

An ambulance worker who dons a Father Christmas outfit each year to hand out presents said seeing people smile makes it all worthwhile.

Rob Woodward, from Larchfield, has spent the last seven years distributing gifts to sick children on Christmas Day at Wexham Park Hospital.

The 59-year-old got the idea to dress up as St Nick when his granddaughter started calling him ‘Santa Grandad’ when he grew a bushy beard for Movember.

Rob, who works for the South Central Ambulance Service, started his festive campaign by handing out gifts at ambulance stations in the county but then teamed up with the hospital to bring some cheer to those in need.

He said: “It’s never the easiest time of year but the best bit is you’re bringing a bit of laughter to people that can be going through the hardest part of their lives.

“If you can just help put a smile on people’s faces then it makes it all worthwhile.”

Rob started growing his beard to resemble Father Christmas back in September, with staff at Bracknell’s Harmony Hair Salon spending four and a half hours dyeing it white.

He has already put his   lookalike status to good use by visiting family support charity Re:charge R&R to hand out gifts ahead of Christmas.

He added: “We want to keep that local person’s touch. It would be a real shame if the whole thing got too big that I couldn’t go and give presents to small groups like Re:charge R&R.”

Rob was due to be joined by his wife Josette and son Andrew to hand out presents at Wexham Park on Christmas Day.

His present appeal was handed a boost by fellow fishermen at White Waltham-based Pondwood Fisheries last month who raised £1000 in a charity fishing match.

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