STILL SELLING: Fraser Lions Club members Helen and Peter Greer and president George Fox (right) prepare this year's cakes and puddings, which will not be delivered by Santa on his sleigh but sold through shopping outlets. INSET: Last year's drive was Santa's last run on Hervey Bay streets.
STILL SELLING: Fraser Lions Club members Helen and Peter Greer and president George Fox (right) prepare this year's cakes and puddings, which will not be delivered by Santa on his sleigh but sold through shopping outlets. INSET: Last year's drive was Santa's last run on Hervey Bay streets. Alistair Brightman

Bay Christmas tradition ends after 25 years

AN ICONIC Christmas tradition has come to a sad end in Hervey Bay.

Fraser Lions Club president George Fox said the ageing members of the club could no longer cope with the physically demanding job of delivering fruit cakes around the region, leaving the committee with the tough decision to no longer have Santa and the sleigh selling the cakes from door to door.

The club's biggest annual fundraiser had been held in Hervey Bay for more than 25 years.

"It was a hard decision to knock off the sleigh run because we've been doing it for years," Mr Fox said.

"When we go around the streets it gets hard for the people as they get older, walking up and down hills for an hour-and-a-half - that's a long time to keep walking.

"We think it's a sad loss of an icon, running around the streets with Santa Claus but it's just something that had to happen."

 

Fraser Lions Club have started their annual door to door Christmas Cake drive.
Fraser Lions Club have started their annual door to door Christmas Cake drive. Valerie Horton

Mr Fox said strict laws surrounding Santa only being allowed to sit in the car, not the sleigh, and a lack of volunteers from the community was also a deciding factor.

"The trouble with our club itself is that we are all getting that little bit older, we are all in our late 60s, 70s, 80s, and it's the walking part.

"We used to get different groups doing it but last year we couldn't get hardly anyone so it was left to the 30 members ... they just felt it was a bit much.

"Once upon a time Santa Claus could sit in the trailer but the police now say no."

Despite no longer having the run, Santa's sleigh won't be put to retirement just yet, with members still delivering to the elderly folks at Baycrest, Fraser Shores, Golden Shores and Torbay.

The Burrum SES will still also deliver in the Burrum Heads area.

"A big thank you to the SES in Burrum Heads who will be selling cakes door-to-door in late November.

"They have always been very good to us."

Mr Fox said residents can still support the club by buying the cakes or puddings from stalls at Stockland Hervey Bay, Eli Waters Shopping Centre, Urangan Central and Bunnings Hervey Bay.

"What we are now doing is covering the sale more in the shopping centres.

"As the members say, it's air-conditioned and there's no walking," he said, laughing.

As well as giving back to local charities each year, the club also donate about 120 cakes to the Salvation Army, St Vincent de Paul, Meals on Wheels and the annual Picnic in the Garden.

WHERE TO BUY LIONS CAKES

  • Stockland Hervey Bay: November 8, 9, 10, 15, 16, 17, 22, 23 and 24, from 9am to 4pm.
  • Eli Waters Shopping Centre: November 29, 30 and December 1, 6, 7, 8, 13, 14 and 15, from 9am to 4pm.
  • Urangan Central: December 6 and 7, from 9am to 4pm.
  • Bunnings Hervey Bay: Every day from December 15 to December 24, from 9am to 3pm.
  • Cost: 1.5kg cakes are $17, 1kg cakes are $13 and puddings are $13.