Dec 19 2012 By Judith Tonner
A yob threw a half-brick at Santa and his sleigh during its festive tour of Petersburn on Sunday afternoon– the second such incident in as many years.
Volunteers from Airdrie and Coatbridge Round Table were visiting the Airdrie estate when the missile was thrown and hit their brand-new £4000 vehicle while dozens of children and their families waited to greet them at Oronsay Road.
Santa and his fellow volunteers, who were being accompanied by police, were uninjured but badly shaken by the incident, which came a year after the sleigh was pelted with iceballs by a group of yobs at Lewis Place in the same area of Airdrie.
Round Table chairman Gordon Millar said: "It’s disgusting and disappointing and I struggle to think why somebody would do such a thing. It’s just lucky that it didn’t hit anybody. Everybody was OK but our fantastic Santa got a real fright.
"We had been coming past the flats and slowed down for the kids, then 10 seconds later, heard an almighty bang from the brick hitting the sleigh.
"Fortunately nobody was injured and it doesn’t seem to have caused any significant damage, but it was a real shock and caused a knock-on for the rest of the evening which meant we weren’t able to reach all the areas we’d planned.
"We were a bit wary because of what had happened in that area last year, but it had been a fantastic atmosphere up until that point.
"The sleigh is such a local institution and has been so well received. We have to think of everyone’s safety and it’s a shame that this happened in Petersburn two years running and that such a small minority ruin it for everyone else.
"The police were fantastic and we’re very grateful to them."
The big-hearted Round Tablers still met children who had been waiting nearby and have planned an additional run to Chapelhall tonight to visit the streets missed there in the aftermath of the brick-throwing, and will complete their tour in Brownsburn, Airdrie central and Cairnhill tomorrow.
Hundreds of their Facebook and Twitter followers, awaiting live route updates on social media, went online to express their disgust about the incident and appreciation for the volunteers, who raised more than £10,000 from last year’s sleigh tour.
Gordon insists that the group will still consider visiting Petersburn in future years, saying: "We meet in January to assess and discuss every route and will make a decision after that.
"We can’t get to every area every year so we might take some off the rota, but if we did, it won’t be because of this. We have a huge amount of support from residents in Petersburn."
Chief Inspector Kenny MacLeod said: "This is a despicable act upon an elderly gentleman carrying out a charitable act for the benefit of young children in the community.
"It could have had terrible consequences if either the elderly gent or a child had been hit – this type of behaviour will not be tolerated."
*Two men have been arrested in connection with the incident.