Xmas time magic at Uncle Willy’s

2016-12-13 06:01
Children enjoy a tractor ride with Paul de Groot before Uncle Willy’s Christmas party gets into full swing.

Children enjoy a tractor ride with Paul de Groot before Uncle Willy’s Christmas party gets into full swing.

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The Marsh Memorial Children’s Home in Rondebosch is hosting its season of Christmas time magic again.

Families, especially children, are enjoying Uncle Willy’s Christmas parties once again until Thursday 22 December.

Uncle Willy is actually 73-year-old Paul de Groot who has finished preparations for his 48th year as host of these parties that started on 1 December.

Organised by the Rotary Club of Claremont, 120 children (and their families) attend the event every night. The party culminates in Father Christmas arriving on a sleigh piled high with Christmas presents for everyone.

De Groot is the original Uncle Willy, the friendly host who, in his cowboy hat, holds the three-hour show together by introducing Noddy, Big Ears and the Christmas Fairy, as well as magicians and musicians. He also makes sure the tractor rides work according to plan and that the legendary straw fight doesn’t get out of hand.

“We follow the same story every year and the children love it,” he says. “Every year Father Christmas gets upset because the Christmas Fairy is late but when she arrives, she lights up the trees and brings sweets for everyone.”

He adds that the parties are not meant to make money, but rather to provide holiday fun for the children and their parents.

“They are run entirely by volunteers, mainly from Rotaract (Rotary’s service club for 18 to 30-year-olds),” he says. “Parents bring one gift for each of their children, while the children themselves bring something of theirs to give to an underprivileged child who wouldn’t normally receive a Christmas present.

“This teaches children the gift of giving from a young age. All profits and donations are spent on Rotaract’s service projects.”

V For more information on the event find the Uncle­WillysChristmas page on Facebook.

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