NOVEMBER 1986, Bradford was bouncing back in a big way – with a 33-foot-high blow-up Santa. The inflatable Father Christmas, which was due to be perched on top of the City Hall and illuminated during the launch of the Christmas lights took four weeks to make at a cost of £9,000. Coming out of the £100,000 Christmas campaign budget, the council decided that the centre piece needed special insurance in case the wind carried him away.

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Testing him out in the banqueting Hall Councillor Barry Thorne, who hoped that the blow-up Santa would give the “drab old City Hall” a bit of Christmas spirit.

By the time the Peter Pan star, Bonnie Langford was due to switch on the lights, splits had been discovered in the seams and Santa had sprung a leak, twice.

Hoisted up the clock tower by workmen Santa could be seen across the city, but he did not stay on his lofty perch for long. Concerns about the way it was attached to scaffolding brought Father Christmas back down to earth.