By Claire Ottaviano
ON Christmas morning in Mt Helena, Santa skips the chimney and swaps his sleigh for a fire truck.
The very special tradition has continued for more than 40 years thanks to the elves at Mt Helena Voluntary Bush Fire Brigade who help escort Santa and his presents for little boys and girls in the fire district.
Long serving volunteer firefighter Robin Gill has been a part of the holiday festivities since joining the brigade in 1977.
“All the members of the brigade hold the Christmas run pretty dear, and not just those with kids or who have had kids,” he said.
“It’s a part of the fabric of Mt Helena.”
Santa and his helpers are out of the fire station bright and early at 7.30am and usually finish about noon.
The annual event is also a chance for the community to give back as well.
“Despite the two truckloads of gifts that we take out we always come back laden with gifts we’re given,” Mr Gill said.
“While the kids are getting their presents the parents are around the back of the truck slipping something nice to the elves.
“The Christmas run is very much appreciated by both the community and brigade and we wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Mt Helena isn’t the only brigade with the tradition with Darlington, Glen Forrest, Stoneville, Sawyers Valley, Chidlow, Wooroloo and Parkerville Volunteer Bush Fire Brigade members also making special deliveries to children throughout December.