He may be less rotund than Santa himself, but Stratford mayor Neil Volzke managed to deliver plenty of Christmas cheer, when he and his team of helpers drove around Stratford in late December dropping off Christmas gifts donated to the annual mayoral Christmas gift appeal.

"The community have always been great at getting behind this appeal and this year was no different," says Neil.

Wearing a Santa hat for the occasion, Neil was joined by members of the community development team and staff members from Tutaki Youth Inc to deliver the gifts.

A total of 32 households received a visit on the day, with excited children running out to greet Santa and his helpers as they arrived at several of the houses.

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One recipient, Jeuvana Cadman, says she was thrilled to receive the surprise visit. "It's just such a lovely surprise, and we really appreciate the thought behind it and the kindness of the community who have contributed."

Jeuvana's daughter, Azaria, 3, was excited to see toys included in the parcel and she and her sister Jade, 12, were soon investigating the contents.

"Thank you so much, everyone who got involved in this appeal, please know how much we appreciate it." Jeuvana says the surprise visit not only brightened her day, but her whole Christmas.