Have you and your family visited Bendigo’s real Santa over the years? Send your favourite Arthur Marchant photos to email@example.com or send them to the Bendigo Addy via our Facebook page.
One of Santa’s best helpers has retired.
Arthur Marchant, who has played Santa since 1992, is considered by many to be Bendigo’s “real” Santa.
“It was extremely hard for me to realise that I had to retire,” he said.
“I’m not well and I have had to learn and accept that I might never do it again.”
Mr Marchant said he decided to dress in the red suit because he liked working with children.
“To bring the magic of Christmas to each child and to see them walk away with the happiness like I’ve never seen before was the best part of being Santa,” he said.
“The beauty of playing Santa is that not everybody has the skill of playing Santa. It is a vocation.
“It has been a beautiful privilege to know that I am loved by so many children and their parents.”
After being Santa for so many years, Mr Marchant hoped he had brought many blessings to families.
“Families should remember that I will always love you and cherish the thought of Christmas and I hope that you can do the same,” he said.
Photographer Stephen Malone who worked with Mr Marchant for many years said he was born to be Santa.
“The best thing about watching him work was his passion for his job and the way he wins the shy people over,” he said.
“I remember on one occasion, it was actually Christmas Eve and Santa noticed a young mum crying because her eldest child was running late for their family Santa photo.
“Rather than closing on time, we chose to remain open for the family, thus making the mother overwhelmed with joy.”
In a statement, Bendigo Marketplace management said they were sad to hear of the retirement of Bendigo’s real Santa.
“Arthur has played the role of Santa in the Bendigo community for over 20 years, many of those years at Bendigo Marketplace,” they said.
“We’re so thankful for Arthur’s commitment to the role, his professionalism and the energy he puts into the experience with each and every child who visits him.
“From the Bendigo Marketplace team we give thanks to Arthur and wish him well in his retirement.”