Christmas came to ‘Santa’ as a community rallied together to shower a popular figure with joy.
Neighbours, family and friends of Geordie McQueen, 81, of Massingham Way, West Harton, South Shields, gave the pensioner a special pre-Christmas visit to show how much he means to the people of the area.
For the last three decades, Geordie has dressed as Santa Claus on Christmas morning and visited homes across the neighbourhood in a bid to spread happiness.
This year, the father-of-six, who is also a grandfather and great-grandfather, has been battling illness - so the community decided to come together to bring the joy of Christmas to him this year.
They paid him a surprise visit before singing Christmas carols outside his door as dozens turned out to show their support.
Among them was Geordie’s niece, Nicola Feals.
Christmas means everything to him. He lives for ChristmasNicola Feals
She said: “Every Christmas for the last 30 years, he has come round with his wheelbarrow full of sweets for the children while dressed as Santa.
“He has been at the heart of the community for decades, so for them to do something for him was amazing.
“He is very well-known in the area because of what he has done at Christmas time.
“Christmas means everything to him. He lives for Christmas.
“All the children wait for him to come round on Christmas Day and it’s clear how much he means to them.”
Geordie’s Christmas morning trips around the estate became tradition, with more than one generation of families having been brought up expecting his visits.
Family friend Georgia Wells felt it was important that the community gave something back.
She said: “He’s such a lovely man and everyone in the area adores him.
“He would always come round the estate in a Santa suit in Christmas morning and it just became part of the tradition every year.
“He has been the local Santa since we were children, and I’m 30.
“Unfortunately, he is poorly at the moment, so we decided to go to him this time.
“We sang him some Christmas carols and just wanted to show him how much he means to everyone.
“We wanted to give something back, and it was fantastic to see such a great turn-out.
“It’s exactly what he deserved, and it was nice to do something for him, rather than him doing it for us.”