Santa Claus dies at 86

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A famous “Father Christmas” who inspired Coca Cola’s character and appeared in countless adverts has died.

John Moore, 86, was hailed as the “true spirit” of Christmas by the soft drinks company.

His funeral is being held today in Burgess Hill, Sussex, where he was known for stepping out in his red suit and black boots for numerous charity events.

When not starring as Santa, Mr Moore worked as a taxi driver and barman, the Argus reported.

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In 2005, he appeared in the Christmas advert for Morrisons, sneaking around a supermarket in disguise to buy carrots for his reindeers waiting in the car park.

The next year, he appeared in Coca Cola’s digitally-enhanced advert, which followed the life of a girl who met Santa every year from the 1930s to the present day.

Moore’s trademark white beard and plump smile inspired the soft drinks giant’s CGI Father Christmas.

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A spokesperson for Coca Cola said: “We are saddened to hear of the passing of John and our thoughts are with his family and the community.

“He really did bring to life the true spirit of the iconic Coca-Cola Santa Claus.”

In an interview with the Financial Times in 2011, Mr Moore shared his tips on being the perfect Father Christmas.

“One of the most important things is the best way to create a magical link with a child,” he said.

“You are here to be mystical and magical. You have to be the embodiment of love and all the best about human nature.”

He cautioned shopping centre Santas never to assume children live with both parents and to “watch out” for parents interjecting about eating their vegetables.

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