Blackler's Santa: Giant Father Christmas to return to Liverpool

Phil Redmond and Blackler's Santa head Image copyright National Museums Liverpool
Image caption Mr Redmond said he hoped the restored Santa would "captivate future generations"

A giant Santa Claus which towered over a Liverpool department store's Christmas grotto for two decades is to return to the city.

Only the head, hands and boots remain of the 21ft (7m) Blackler's Santa, which debuted in the 1960s.

After the store closed in 1988, the Father Christmas fell into disrepair.

It will be restored in time for Christmas 2016 after National Museums Liverpool chair Phil Redmond and wife Alexis donated £10,000 for the work.

The Santa was one of two created by artist Peter Blazey for the store while he was working there. The other was a two-dimensional work, which was also used to advertise the shop's grotto.

Image copyright National Museums Liverpool
Image caption The huge Santa towered over Blackler's department store for two decades

When it closed, he bought the pair and later donated them to the Museum of Liverpool.

Mr Redmond, who rose to fame as the creator of Grange Hill, Brookside and Hollyoaks, said he remembered the Santa "well" from his childhood and hoped it would similarly "captivate future generations" when it went on show at the museum.

"On hearing of Santa's fate, Alexis and I couldn't resist bringing back such a memorable seasonal icon," he added.

A National Museums Liverpool spokesman said the donation would pay for a new torso, "ensuring Santa remains a seasonal Scouse highlight".

Image copyright National Museums Liverpool
Image caption The store was also home to a huge two-dimensional Santa, which is on display at the Museum of Liverpool

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