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EDITIONS
Monday, 9 December, 2002, 11:12 GMT
New Santa clauses introduced
Santa Clauses
The role of Santa Claus is changing
Santa Claus must have a minder to watch over him when he meets children, under the latest guidelines issued by Rotary clubs.

Father Christmas must be accompanied when meeting children, even if parents are present.

If there is no "minder" then he is being told he must go "off duty".

The guidelines also say Father Christmas should no longer have a grotto and he should only shake hands with children, avoiding other physical contact.

Santa's rulebook
Have a minder
Be on public view
Children should stand
Shake hands with children
The Rotary Club has introduced the interim measure while a new code of practice is drawn up and follows child protection legislation earlier this year.

Bob Bennison, from Lincoln Rotary Club, said: "If someone is there and he hasn't got somebody with him - as opposed to the child - he has got to get up and walk out.

"They have got to have a minder or whatever you want to call them."

Gone too far

Rules also state that Santa Claus should be located in a place open to the view of the public rather in an enclosed grotto.

Children should also be discouraged from sitting on Santa's knee or having any physical contact with him.

Santa is advised to shake a child's hand rather than allowing them a peck on the cheek.

Mr Bennison said: "For me it has gone too far.

Reputations saved

"I don't know if we are going over the top, but it is national advice. It is a real problem for us."

A spokeswoman for Rotary International said the guidelines had been issued in line with a government code of conduct.

"It is to safeguard the reputation of Rotarians and at the same time safeguard the welfare of children and the vulnerable."

  • Eleven days ago a school in Bedfordshire announced a ban on video cameras at its nativity play.

    The head teacher at Sundon Lower School, Luton, Sue Stokes, told parents in a letter she was worried the pictures might get into the wrong hands.


  • Click here to go to Lincolnshire
    See also:

    28 Nov 02 | England
    24 Dec 01 | UK
    16 Dec 00 | Americas
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