Monday 24 October 2016

When Santa's letter got stuck up the chimney

Published 10/12/2015 | 10:16

The letter to Santa was written by a boy called David
The letter to Santa was written by a boy called David
Rupert annuals were much in demand

The author of a heartwarming letter to Santa asking for "slippers and a box of chalks" that was hidden in a chimney for more than 60 years has been found thanks to social media.

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Builder Lewis Shaw shared a photo of the note, written by a young boy called David, to Facebook after discovering it while demolishing the fireplace of a house in Caversham, Reading, Berkshire.

The letter, which Mr Shaw believes is 60 to 70 years old, said: "Dear Father Christmas, Please can you send me a Rupert annual, and a drum box of chalks, soldiers and Indians, slippers and any little toys you have to spare, Love David."

It is then signed off with lots of kisses.

The 24-year-old was working with his colleagues when they found the letter in the rubble in a 1930s semi-detached house in Oakley Road on Monday morning.

He said: "We just looked at it and were taken aback because it was so humble. It is pretty special because it is not something you'd see today.

"I didn't even realise what a Rupert annual was or that they still make them today.

"It was apparently the best thing at the time.

"Kids today wouldn't ask for things like that, they are so ungrateful and just ask for an Xbox, Playstation or those Segway things.

"Back then it would have been expensive stuff but the smallest things obviously made him happy. Asking for things that he actually needed like slippers is so sweet."

The father-of-two spoke to neighbours on both sides of the house who have lived there since the 1930s and told him they paid £450 for their houses at the time.

They were also able to give him David's surname, which he then typed into Facebook.

He said: "We found him with the help of the old lady next door. He now lives on the other side of Reading in Tilehurst and the local online paper Get Reading has arranged for us to meet him tomorrow.

"I understand he grew up in this house and his mum and dad bought the house in 1945 and lived in it for about 40 years until they died in 1986.

"The letter is in perfect condition and on the back is a letter from his Uncle Arthur with old fashioned handwriting asking how David is settling in so he must have just started school.

"I think it might bring back a lot of memories - it was his mother and father's house and with us doing the work it can't be that nice for him seeing us knocking walls down and building an extension.

"It will hopefully be special for him."

Mr Shaw added David's letter was very different to his six-year-old son and three-year-old daughter's Christmas wish lists.

He said: "They wouldn't ask for a pair of slippers. My boy wants a motorbike and lots of toys and my little girl wants everything Barbie."

Mr Shaw works with his brother and his father in their family business Shaw and Son Builders Ltd.

He said: "We find the occasional cigarette packets and matchboxes but nothing like this.

"It's got to be at least 60 years old.

"I'm glad it didn't take long to find him because everybody got behind it and was trying to get #FindDavid to trend.

"It just goes to show all generations are on Facebook."

Mr Shaw is due to meet David and return his letter on Friday afternoon.

Press Association

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