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Skydiving Santa brings joy to kids in earthquake town

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Skydiving Santa brings joy to kids in earthquake town
Santa Claus is coming to town (by parachute). File photo: Keith Allison/Flickr
12:17 CET+01:00
Father Christmas traditionally delivers gifts by travelling in a magical sleigh and climbing down the chimney - but in Italy this year, he's made a more dramatic entrance.

Santa - or Babbo Natale, as he is known in Italy - descended from the sky on Wednesday in order to deliver his gifts a few weeks early.

The spectacle took place at lunchtime in Amatrice, central Italy, with seven other skydivers from Italy's national team taking part in the show.

Santa's grand entrance is shown in the picture below, complete with smoke trails in the colours of the Italian flag (which also happen to be the Christmassy combination of green, red and white).

Father Christmas descends.

Santa chatted with children who shared their Christmas wish lists, and handed out bags of sweets and presents.

Amatrice was the city worst hit by a devastating earthquake this August, and most of the 299 deaths happened in the small town. Wednesday's festive event was planned to bring a smile to the faces of local children, many of whom were made homeless by the disaster.

"Normality returns with events like this," said Amatrice's mayor, Sergio Pirozzi. "Christmas won't be an easy time for my community, which is having to come to terms with great loss, but these moments of solidarity are very important and will certainly bring joy to our children."

The skydiving Santa will also present funds raised in aid of the quake victims to school teachers from the region, where a third of schools were left unusable by the tremblor.

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