Video: Offbeat - Happy chap has been bringing Christmas joy to children for a whopping 30 years

Don Hodgson, 58 from Lee-on-the-Solent. Don has scooped two awards at the 2018 Chelsea Flower Show for his garden, The Force for Good - a collaborative project between military veterans and Sparsholt College. Picture: Supplied

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Malcolm Dowson, 67, is into his third decade of donning a red suit, white beard and black boots - but his appointment happened entirely by accident.

In 1985, the father-of-two was asked in a local pub if he would step in to the famous boots as they were desperate for someone to play Santa - and he hasn’t taken them off since.

His role has seen him take to the skies in recent years after attending Christmas parties at nearby RAF Church Fenton.

Unlike the real Santa, he wasn’t on board a sleigh, but was flown in a low-flying plane so children could get a glimpse of him.

His guise has even fooled his six grandchildren, aged between six and 25, who don’t recognise him when he dresses up as Saint Nicholas.