Sun. Apr 21st, 2024

Heartfelt tributes are flooding in for the cherished “Santa Claus of Longbeach Mall,” 82-year-old Fred Francklin, who brought joy to visitors for nearly a decade. The father of four, known for donning his natural white beard and driving an old red car, passed away recently, leaving a void in the festive traditions of the mall.

Longbeach Mall shared the news of Francklin’s passing with shoppers, resulting in an outpouring of emotions, with over 9,000 reactions within hours. Customers shared their fond memories of the beloved Santa Claus, recounting the smiles he brought to the faces of both children and adults alike.

Francklin’s daughter, Sandy, expressed her gratitude for the overwhelming number of messages from those touched by her father’s presence. She fondly remembered him as a dedicated father and a great role model, emphasizing his love for children.

Francklin’s role as Santa began when one of his close friends, the previous Father Christmas, passed away. Sandy shared that her father cherished every moment of being Santa, delighting in the joy he brought to the little ones. She recounted his words about a 4-month-old baby sitting on his lap, emphasizing the concept of “unconditional love.”

Longbeach Mall’s marketing manager, Minnin Du Preez, emphasized Francklin’s integral role in the festive season. She praised his willingness, jovial spirit, and the impact he had on the community, noting that people would inquire about his presence.

The community expressed deep sadness over the loss, remembering Francklin’s humility and warm greetings. Simbarashe Chirimambowa recalled a recent encounter with Francklin, describing him as a humble man with a sweet general greeting and a penetrating smile. Cecilia da Costa thanked Francklin for the joy he brought to everyone and extended blessings, signifying the lasting impact of the “Santa Claus of Longbeach Mall.”

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