Manchester's 'Zippy' Santa attraction to be sold off

Zippy Santa and real Zippy Image copyright Mark Waugh/PA
Image caption The distinctive Father Christmas figure was likened to the TV character Zippy

A giant Father Christmas attraction known as "Zippy" in Manchester has been put up for sale by the council.

The huge Santa figure has watched over the city's Christmas market in Albert Square for 10 years.

It was nicknamed Zippy by Mancunians due to its uncanny resemblance to the famous character from children's TV programme Rainbow.

The council's city centre spokesman Pat Karney said: "Even giant steel Santas need to retire."

Mr Karney said the exhibit has become too cumbersome to maintain, is too heavy and takes too long to build.

Image copyright Mark Waugh
Image caption The Santa attraction watched over the city's Christmas market in Albert Square

Councillors will have the final say on the design of a new Santa-themed figure, which will be placed elsewhere in the city.

And the council is keen to hear how people think the new attraction should look, Mr Karney said.

He added: "Our beloved Zippy has hung up his stocking for the last time and we are currently in search of a giant red replacement. We are sad to see him go."

Zippy was created by French company Blachere, which produces Christmas lights and decorations to illuminate the Trafford Centre shopping mall, Harrods in London, alongside installations in several other cities.

The BBC understands interest has been expressed by several potential buyers and the feature could potentially return to its birthplace in Marseille.

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