Swansea’s secret Santa sets up a collection point at Quadrant Centre

Swansea’s secret Santa has set up a collection point in the city’s bustling Quadrant Shopping Centre.

The Mr X Appeal, one of Swansea’s best-loved and most enduring charities, has one of its focal points at the busy heart of the Centre and already generous local people are flocking to support it.

The charity provides Christmas gifts for underprivileged and needy youngsters and has been running for 53 years.

Its 89-year-old organiser said: “The Quadrant is a very popular collection point for the charity, it’s one of about a dozen we have.

“We began in the 1950s and since then we’ve worked it out that the number of children who have received gifts would fill the Millennium Stadium twice over.

“We’ve been giving gifts for between four and five thousand children a year and we receive about 15,000 gifts – people are so generous and some of the presents are very expensive.

“Often families go out and buy a present for their children and if their children are the same age as the children in the appeal then they buy the same for them.

Quadrant Centre Manager Ian Kirkpatrick plays his part, putting up the replica Christmas trees with their containers which he fills with small cards with the name and age of a needy child.

Donors take the cards and buy an appropriate present and then drop it off at a collection point.

Ian Kirkpatrick said: “The identity of Mr X is a mystery but he is a local man and his charity has done wonderful work over the years and we’re delighted to be able to help here at the Quadrant.

“There’s been a fantastic response ever since it started which just shows how kind the people of Swansea are.

“The gifts come in and we collect them and hand them over and they are still coming in after Christmas so I go and hand them over to the man himself – I’m one of the few who know who he is.”

Mr X added: “We’ve had wonderful support from everyone and especially from the South Wales Evening Post who have been right behind it right from the start – they have played a huge part in its success.

“We get presents from all sorts of places, businesses, churches and schools, even Swansea Prison.

“We go round the collection points to pick the presents up and then the child care agencies deliver them to the children.

“I even know people from as far away as Bristol and Cardiff who tell me they don’t have anything like this where they live and they buy for our charity here in Swansea.

“I’m also very grateful to all my volunteers for the job they do.

“It all dates back to when we befriended an orphan child, Francesca, who was seven and who used to come and stay with us every month.

“Friends brought a present to us for her and even people who were strangers started doing the same and it grew from there and people have enjoyed doing it and getting involved.”

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