Building Our Sleigh

In 2002 we decided we needed a Sleigh to take round the streets of Shepperton with Santa Claus at Christmas time. The sleigh should be self contained and able to play carols. Fortunately our Mother Club had an old sleigh which had fallen out of use and after some negotiations gave it to Aurora to refurbish.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our first impressions were quite good and we thought we could replace some of the wood and give it all a good coat of paint. Unfortunately as soon as we started the bodywork collapsed and we had to knock it all off and start again. Once we had stripped off the old woodwork we were left with a steel framework on a two wheel axle, all of which was usable but badly in need of renovation. We cleaned up this chassis and repainted it. Welded on brackets to carry the woodwork and started to build the sleigh from scratch. Six members of the club were the prime workers, Ken Howe masterminded the design, John Dumbrell looked after the electrics, Des Mulvany supervised the painting and David Catt-Camfield, Douglas Dick and Peter Willson helped with the construction.

 

 

 

The body was constructed from marine ply in a garage and then coated with primer, two undercoats and three gloss coats which gave us an excellent finish. Flashing rope lights were fitted around the sleigh and Rotary transfers applied to the bodywork., Moira Mulvany designed and painted the reindeer which were fitted on brackets to the front of the sleigh and lit with fairy lights.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Expert advice was sought for the sound system and this resulted in a portable CD player, amplifier and speakers being installed. Peter Willson loaned us a generator from his boat and after a lot of work it was all systems GO. We even managed to get the local newspaper along to cover the sleigh on its first outing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Initially we purchased a boat cover to go over the sleigh when it was not in use but we found this chafed the paintwork and so in 2009 it was modified and we built a copper frame with wooden supports to keep the cover off the sleigh. By now our work force had been augmented by Joe Delahunty and Douglas Dick.

 

Various additons were made as time went on and, with the help of Robin Sider and his fellow Councillors, we managed to buy our own Honda Generator. Needless to say the paintwork needs touching up from time to time and after some ten years of use, we stripped off much of the lighting and completely repainted the sleigh. By now our original cover was wearing thin so a new cover was purchased- all of this should be good for the next ten years.