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Jean's not Claus-trophobic – with 2,100 Santas! 16.12.13

SOME people take just a few hours putting up their Christmas decorations – others do it in a day.
But one Greencastle woman has been bedecking her house for the past 15 days and counting - all be-Claus of her huge collection of Santas.
Grand-mum Jean Hegarty (65) has a whopping 2,100 Father Christmases to find room for in her festive home at Crockaulin, Ballybrack.
She began her Santastic collection when she got married 45 years ago and, lucky for her, husband Hugo is not Claus-trophobic.
The jolly red fellas include fluffy Santas, chubby Santas, thin Santas and wooden Santas and they inhabit every corner of her home at Christmas time.
She also has Russian Doll Santas, ones in the shape of teapots, cookie jars, pens, socks, hats and even kitchen utensils.
Be-Claus it's Christmas: Greencastle grand-mum Jean Hegarty who has a whopping collection of some 2,100 Santas, dating back to 1968.
Mum-of-two Jean says it takes a ho, ho, whole lot of time displaying them all but it’s always been part of the festive fun for their children, Jacqui and Neil, and now their four grand-children Aoibhe (9), Fionn (9), Hugh (6) and Riley (2).
"I usually don't take them out until December 1 and then it takes me about two to three weeks putting them all up - with a few more tweaks right up until Christmas Day," she beamed.
"It would take me a solid week taking them all down again because I would be quite particular about storing them – many still have their original boxes."
The administration worker at The Museum of Free Derry, first started her collection in 1968 with a Santa-shaped Christmas tree decoration. More than four decades later she has had to have a special floor built in the attic to accommodate them all. She amasses “at least” 10 new ones each year including gifts from friends and family.
Last year, the country’s biggest Santa fan raised almost 1,000 euro for the LauraLynn Foundation after showing her collection publicly for the first time. Funds raised this year will go to the same charity.
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