It’s official – Santa has nailed his colours to the mast and declared himself to be an Ipswich Town fan ahead of the East Anglian derby on Saturday.
Santa – or Farmer Christmas from Suffolk Rural College – revealed the bombshell news when he went on his annual mini tour of primary schools this week.
For the past few years – Farmer Christmas (aka agricultural lecturer John Attridge) – fires up his tractor and sets off to see youngsters studying at Witnesham and Otley primary schools where he hands out gifts and spreads festive cheer.
This year – ahead of the much anticipated ‘old farm derby’ – he also dug out his old retro Ipswich shirt with FISONS on the front to rally the troops ahead one of the most hotly anticipated games between the two rivals in many a year.
Farmer Christmas was joined by naughty elf helper, Penny Rudland, who assisted him as they met and took photos with around 150 children across the two schools.
On continuing the connection that dates back around a decade, Mr Attridge, said; “We always look forward to visiting the schools so it was great to finally say hello to everyone. These youngsters are potentially our students of tomorrow, and in terms of farming, we are always looking for new generations coming through, so it’s great to be able to make a connection like this. Working with the community like this is a massive part of what we do at Suffolk Rural and it’s always a pleasure to be involved in this event.”
In terms of being an Ipswich Town fan – he added: “It’s been over 14 years since Ipswich beat Norwich so it’s been a frustrating time for the team. I really hope and believe that this is our year – Come On You Blues,” he added.
Hannah Rigby is the executive headteacher of Otley and Witnesham. Hannah said: “The children always look forward to seeing Farmer Christmas and his elf helper. We are very grateful to the College for their support and we hope to visit Suffolk Rural in the spring where we have been invited to have a look around the farm.”
In terms of Farmer Christmas being an Ipswich fan, she added: “Ipswich are well known as the Tractor Boys and he arrived on a tractor – so it all makes sense to me.”