This time of year is so special when you are a child.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to realise the real magic in Christmas is the effort the ‘grown-ups’ put into making that one day in December one that will live up to the expectations of children who look forward to it all year.
That was reinforced when I took a trip to body shop Fix Auto Slough, in Ajax Avenue, Slough, on Thursday with an invitation to start painting Maidenhead Round Table’s sleigh.
Every Christmas the group brings out a sleigh and goes around the town with Santa, distributing sweets to children. In return, parents hand a donation to the club members who send it to a charity.
The sleigh changes every 15 years or so, and a new one for this year has been made by Patrick Edwards, 38, a self- employed software developer and Round Table member with only one instance of previous woodwork experience.
“I did a bird house and it didn’t make it through the winter,” he said.
The sleigh sat in his garage for most of the year as he worked on it, having searched for designs on the internet for inspiration.
Ranjit Gill, the owner of Fix Auto Slough, who offered to paint the sleigh for free when he heard the group needed help with finishing it, grew up in Maidenhead and still lives in Stratford Gardens.
“I will always remember it,” he said, recalling the sleigh in the late 80s and early 90s.
“Standing out the front at home, waiting to hear it.
“Then we would see the lights.”
He added he hopes his 18-month-old child will grow up to experience the same joy he had.
Ranjit handed me a pair of elf overalls, which were hanging in his office for one of his employees (apparently), and we went to the large box-like spray booth.
He showed me how it works – spray horizontally across the sleigh until you run out of wood to paint red. Then, you go back along directly underneath, trying to prevent it from running.
I was in there for about 40 minutes and seemed to get the hang of it – Ranjit seemed happy enough, but I expect the professionals would want to touch it up.
The guys at Fix Auto are due to complete it this week, including a finish of expensive gold paint, and Patrick’s excellent construction is sure to put a smile on children’s faces when it rocks up in a road near you in the coming weeks.
Santa and his sleigh will visit the Christmas lights switch-on and have a Sleigh Launch Party at the Maiden’s Head, in High Street, on Saturday.
Here is the route for December:
Monday 5: Powney Road and Penyston Road
Tuesday 6: Ray Lea Road and Summerleaze
Wednesday 7: Bannard Road and Altwood
Thursday 8: Farthingales and Oldacres
Saturday 10: Woodlands Park Fair (2.30-3.30pm) and Holyport
Sunday 11: Cox Green
Monday 12: Aldebury Road and Sandringham Road
Tuesday 13: Highway and Farm Road
Wednesday 14: Farmers Way
Thursday 15: Courthouse and All Saints Avenue
Saturday 17: Cranbrook Drive
Sunday 18: Larchfield
Monday 19: College Area (including College Road)
Tuesday 20: Bomber Estate (around Lancaster Road)
Wednesday 21: Great Hill Crescent
Thursday 22: Queensway
Saturday 24: Chiltern Road
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Police officers can be seen at Ten Pin Bowling in Maidenhead tonight following an incident earlier today.