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School for Santas
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Ron Horniblew, 69, gave 50 other whiskered wannabes the heave-ho-ho in the annual Santa Claus Winter Games help in Lapland.
He brought festive joy to the judges with his silky skills - harnessing reindeer, driving the trademark sleigh, deftly wrapping gifts and even abseiling down a chimney.
It was semi-retired Ron's first time in the contest and he had to overcome ruddy-cheeked rivals from Russia, Estonia, Spain, France, Denmark, Finland and Sweden.
The dad-of-two heard about the competition after attending a Father Christmas convention in Copenhagen earlier this year. "I certainly did not expect to win," he said. "Especially against some of the veteran Santas who are here."
Ron, who is married to his own little helper, Betty, has been bringing festive cheer to the people of his home town Luton for the past 40 years. Taking the crown was the icing on the Christmas cake.
Luton Dad Is World's Greatest Santa
(Mel Hunter - Reproduced by kind permission of the Sun Newspaper)
An English grandad has sleighed the competition to be crowned the world's greatest Santa.
Sub-zero temperatures during the contest 60 miles inside the Arctic Circle proved one of the biggest tests for the Santas. Ron said: "My poor old beard and moustache got frozen."
He added: "Being Santa is about bringing fun into everyone's lives. I don't get paid for what I do - just seeing the enjoyment on everyone's faces is reward enough."
Click on the links below to see more examples of Santa Ron in the News (all open in new windows).