Mr and Mrs Claus are alive and well and living in Yorkshire with their elf where they are making toys and tasty treats ready for Christmas

·5-min read

Anyone ho-ho-hoping to see Santa this Christmas will be pleased to know that Mr and Mrs Claus are alive and well and living in Yorkshire with their elf, where they are busy making toys and tasty treats for the festivities.

After working through mounds of present requests from excited youngsters, in return Santa – aka John Tearney, 55 – has asked grateful families to leave out a “glass of milk and a gingerbread man” for him when he delivers their gifts, before “hot-tailing it” to the North Pole on Christmas Eve.

Every year for the last decade John has transformed himself into “the real Father Christmas” for the festivities and is now joined by Mrs Claus – his fiancée Rachael Pennell, 45, who he is marrying next year – and John’s son Luke Tearney, 19, who is working with them as an elf.

Rachael and John have been playing Mr and Mrs Claus together since 2017 (PA Real Life/Collect).
Rachael and John have been playing Mr and Mrs Claus together since 2017 (PA Real Life/Collect).

As head of the Claus family in residence at Lotherton Hall in Aberford, Yorkshire, where they are providing a wonderland of experiences throughout the festive season, John said: “All the little kids think I’m the real Santa.

“I just wandered into the job about 10 years ago. I’m the right shape and the right size, so I just put a red and white suit on and, hey presto!

“Then, when I saw Rachael for the first time six years ago, I just thought immediately, ‘There’s my Mrs Claus,’ although we only started working together like this in 2017.”

John proposed to Rachael in August 2021 (PA Real Life/Collect).
John proposed to Rachael in August 2021 (PA Real Life/Collect).

He added: “My son, Luke, is now our elf, too, although at 19 he’s older than the average elf, so we’re the Claus family.

“We get emphatically excited about Christmas and we have to get that emotion across to the children.

“I was Santa for a group of pre-schoolers and said to one little boy, ‘What’s your name?’ He said, ‘Turbo Hot Wheels!’ I said, ‘What a fantastic name.'”

  • Be helpful

  • Always be jolly

  • Help out around the house all year long

  • Do your homework all year round

  • Be kind.

He added: “He was so excited about getting his present order in, he just blurted it out first.”

Both actors, Rachael and John met and fell in love when they were playing René and Yvette together on an ‘Allo ‘Allo! tour in 2015.

Great Christmas fans, becoming Mr and Mrs Claus throughout the festive season provided the couple – who plan to tie-the-knot in Cornwall in August next year, where John proposed in August 2021 – with a fantastic opportunity to work together.

Rachael pictured here with John’s son, Luke, who also works as an elf at Lotherton (PA Real Life/Collect).
Rachael pictured here with John’s son, Luke, who also works as an elf at Lotherton (PA Real Life/Collect).

But, while they put their decorations up in November before they start their festive stint, there is no time to prepare their own Yuletide feast, so they normally enjoy a Christmas meal with friends, who do the cooking.

Rachael said: “It is so important for us all to stay in character, as children are very discerning, and they look out for every detail.

“With John, Luke and I working together, we can easily maintain this, as we get home after a long day, have dinner and talk about the exciting things that have gone on.”

John and Rachael (PA Real Life/Collect)
John and Rachael (PA Real Life/Collect)

Becoming Mrs Claus was a natural transition for Rachael, after falling in love with John.

She said: “I went from not wanting to be touring in panto any more to finding venues to work in closer to home, to working together as Mr and Mrs Claus.

“We’ve both been actors for a long time. I’m a singer, too, and have recorded jazz albums, as well as writing my first novel in lockdown.”

  • Up early.

  • Breakfast - Santa has hot coffee with cinnamon.

  • Feed the reindeer.

  • Santa goes off to work in the toyshop with the elves, where they make everything to his liking after he has had some hot sausage rolls.

  • Mrs Claus bakes gingerbread men.

  • Lunch then read all their letters.

  • Santa goes back to work and Mrs Claus washes all the elf socks and gets dinner ready.

  • Eat mince pies and Christmas pudding.

  • Enjoy a bedtime story with the elves.

  • Santa has a gingerbread man and a glass of hot milk for supper.

She added: “John did TV in the 1990s and 2000s. He is musician, too, and now we are working on some Christmas stories together as Mr and Mrs Claus.

“When John first told me he played Father Christmas I was quite surprised, as it was a few years ago now and he was young to be doing it, but he completely transforms into Santa.

“He even makes videos of himself as Santa for the children of people we know, and they don’t realise it’s John.”

John as Mr Claus (Simon Dewhurst/PA Real Life).
John as Mr Claus (Simon Dewhurst/PA Real Life).

While Santa was allowed a grotto in an outdoor marquee last year, Covid restrictions meant children could only stand outside, so it has been a pleasure being able to interact properly with them this year.

Rachael said: “I love decorating gingerbread men with the children.

“John jokes with them that they are either on Santa’s naughty list or his nice list!”

Mrs Claus loves baking gingerbread (Lotherton/PA Real Life).
Mrs Claus loves baking gingerbread (Lotherton/PA Real Life).

She added: “We’ve always liked Christmas and we do get excited and get into the spirit of it.

“All the children react differently when they see Father Christmas. Some can’t stop talking, some are dumbstruck and some giggle.

“That’s when it’s really magical, as we giggle along, too.

“And that’s what being Mr and Mrs Claus is all about – spreading the magic.”

* To find out more and book to see Mr and Mrs Claus go to www.thechristmasexperience.co.uk

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