From Francis Gay's page - Sunday
Post, September 19, 1993.
John Shearer died last month in Basildon, Essex, where
he retired after spending many years as a police officer in Ardrossan. He
was known as a tough copper, but a former colleague tells me of another
side of Big John.
On Christmas Day 1957, they called at the home of a
woman whose son was serving a prison sentence for a serious assault. She
was caring for the man's two little daughters. The Children answered the
door, and John Shearer asked, "What did Santa Claus bring you?" The elder
girl replied, "Santa didn't come, Mr Shearer. Grannie couldn't pay him."
John went straight back to the Police Station and
organised a whip-round. Then he called on a number of policemen's wives
and other friends for their help. Within a couple of hours he had two
large bags filled with toys, children's clothing, sweets and Christmas
The two little girls and their Grannie were amazed and
delighted when he returned to their home and told them Santa had
remembered them after all, and asked the policeman to do the delivery.
John's friend tells me he's sure the two girls have never forgotten the
day they learned the real Santa Claus sometimes wears not a red cloak, but
a blue tunic.