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Last Updated: Saturday, 16 June 2007, 00:30 GMT 01:30 UK
'Secret Santa' rewarded with MBE
Picture of Santa
The pensioner has been dubbed 'Secret Santa'
A Belfast pensioner who has spent 54 years distributing Christmas presents to underprivileged NI children has been honoured by the Queen.

Edward Joseph Cooper, dubbed a 'Secret Santa' was made an MBE in the Birthday Honours List for his services to the community.

Since starting work at 14, he has bought toys every week and stored them up to give to children at Christmas.

He also donates Easter eggs to orphaned children.

Since his retirement he has continued the practice.

He is a one man charity who works independently of any organisation and has not made his actions known publicly.

One person who knows about his activities said: "He doesn't talk about what he does.

"Many of the organisations who receive his gifts don't know they are from him - they will now."

The pensioner was one of 68 people from Northern Ireland honoured in the Birthday Honours List - 38 men and 30 women.




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