FATHER Christmas himself is calling on Hunts Post readers to help make a difference to a sick child at Christmas through our Holly’s Little Helpers appeal.

With just 46 days til the big day, things are starting to get rather busy for the great man, but that did not stop him taking time out from his schedule to add his support to our Holly's Little Helpers campaign.

He joined us to urge readers to help make this Christmas one to remember for young patients of Hinchingbrooke Hospital's Holly Ward by donating a gift.

Last year the Hunts Post helped to brighten the day for Holly Ward patients and children being cared for at home with around 100 presents donated by generous readers.

Gifts can range from books, toiletry sets, games, DVDs, or toys, and should be wrapped and dropped into the Hunts Post office before December 16.

Father Christmas handed out last year's gifts alongside Hunts Post editor Andy Veale and Huntingdonshire District Council chairman Jeff Dutton.

He said the experience has stayed with him throughout the year.

"Last year when I helped Andy Veale and Jeff Dutton at Hinchingbrooke, by the end I was wiping my eyes. I was just very pleased my beard was absorbent."

Godmanchester resident Fred Carter helps to bring Father Christmas to life for hundreds of children around the county each year.

His engagements begin at the end of November and he can have as many as four or five a day, ranging from Christmas light switch-ons to church fetes.

Mr Carter, who has also just been elected Huntingdon Town Council's new macebearer, said: "I enjoy every one. I love it when a child doesn't believe, but when they leave me, they do. This year I have got a lot of new engagements, but I won't let anybody down."

The 72-year-old has made it is his business to know everything about Father Christmas, his reindeer and team of helpers in order to deflect awkward questions.

But there is one thing he will not give away and that is the age of the man. "You never them. I just say he's extremely old and older than his teeth."

INFORMATION: If you have a gift to donate to the Hunts Post's Holly Ward appeal, drop it into the Hunts Post office at 30 High Street, Huntingdon. All gifts should be wrapped with a note of explanation as to what is inside.