A BHS Santa Story

Saturday, 2 January 2021

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Former staff member Jim Shaw (1973 – 1987) recently sent us a couple of his memorable stories from his days at BHS. Here is one appropriate for the season:

“In 1985 the UN billeted it’s UNIFIL officers in Brummana. They took over the Tom Wells restaurant across the road from the top of the Primary School Drive as a kind of unofficial mess. I had been the only foreigner that I know of in the village for several years so I welcomed the company and stopped by fairly frequently. 

One night at the end of November 1986, a Norwegian officer named Nuyl Berg asked me if BHS wanted a ‘Santa Clause. He said his qualifications were that he was from northern Norway and Santa was probably a distant relative. (He had a great sense of humour!) It was two weeks before BHS’s Christmas Bazaar so I put it to the PTA Committee. Normally a member of Staff who was usually greeted with howls of derision when he appeared, played the part!! The PTA committee thought it would be good to have a change so they were only to happy to agree. Before recounting what took place I should describe Nuyl. He was very tall, athletically  built, very fit with blue eyes and fair, greying hair and beard – a perfect candidate for the role!

At the appointed time Santa ‘bounded’ into the Dobbing Hall and on to the stage were he was to run the ‘lucky dip’. No sooner he appeared than pandemonium broke out. Some of the kids had hysterics, one or two fainted with excitement, the atmosphere was electric. In other words it was a real Primary school riot!! Why such a reaction?! They thought he was the REAL Santa Claus!! Some even claimed that they had seen him hopping into his sleigh and taking off from the Primary roof.whereas he was in my flat having a well-earned cup of coffee. He was quite shaken by the reaction to him. The next Monday there were numerous enquiries as to where BHS had got its Santa. But once was enough for Nuyl, however. He said he found the ‘Green Line’ very peaceful by comparison after his experience at BHS.”