Nineteen years ago we moved to Cleopatra St in Blackheath with our young twin boys. We couldn’t believe our luck when we discovered Santa lived just around the corner on Hat Hill Rd. Every festive season our children joined the throngs to check out his Christmas lights display and to collect a bag of lollies! We’ve since moved, and so has Santa. He’s now in Lawrence St but we’ve continued to see him as he’s fixed our locks on numerous occasions, and, of course, whenever we go to Blackheath’s Mitre 10 (formerly known as Hume’s Hardware). We’ve been there a lot over the years, and recently I’ve been going as much as my husband used to. Partly to buy items for Blackheath Community Farm and more recently, during the pandemic, to order materials to build our new green house, chook cage and veggie garden enclosure. At the height of lockdown, these were ordered over the phone and delivered to us at home. We couldn’t imagine a better service! Without fail, Santa (Phil Hopkins as we now know him) has been there to help. Possibly because of Phil’s humour, my husband (who’s a cartoonist) sees his visits to Mitre 10 as one of his favourite regular social encounters.
Phil’s now been working there longer than we’ve been in Blackheath, and last week Mitre 10 staff threw him a party to celebrate keeping him for 20 years!
Even though his Santa run was put on hold during the fires last Summer, Phil and his wife still put on their Christmas Lights display to keep everyone’s spirits up. Despite being vulnerable himself health wise, and needing to wear a mask during COVID, Phil has been there with his inimitable sense of humour, supporting the community and local businesses … and helping us all to keep going.
We’d like to add our thanks to those of staff at Mitre 10 – thank you Phil for being an integral part of what makes our move to Blackheath one of the best decisions we ever made.
Lis Bastian and Ian Dalkin
Check out this interview with him at his party in the store last Monday 27 July, 2020: