Why a giant 120-ft Santa Claus probably isn’t coming town...

An inflatable Santa similar to the one it was proposed to bring to Kirkcaldy
An inflatable Santa similar to the one it was proposed to bring to Kirkcaldy
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TOWN centre bosses are out of pocket to the tune of £18,000 after trying to bring the world’s biggest inflatable Santa to town for a major Christmas promotion.

Kirkcaldy4All has stumped up for the giant structure, but the manufacturer says he has not been paid - and won’t release it until he is.

It’s the latest twist to a growing contractual row between Kirkcaldy4All and Bob Carruthers, the man behind the town’s comedy festival which collapsed last week.

The Warwickshire-based businessman said Kirkcaldy4All paid to have the super Santa made - but these were ‘‘only a small contribution to the overall costs.’’

And it now seems highly unlikely the record-breaking event will take place in town at all.

The Santa which stands some 120-feet in height - significantly taller than Kirkcaldy’s Town House - now lies in a container in China waiting to be shipped across.

The background to the fall-out is mired in claim and counter-claim, and an increasingly confused paper trail.

Mr Carruthers says the structure is owned by TVFifeLtd.

He also released paperwork to the press earlier this week which stated that Kreative Destiny - the company he formed to deliver the comedy festival and other projects in town as a social enterprise - had already forked out £9927, half of the manufacturing cost.

Invoice

The Press has a copy of an invoice which shows the cost of making the super-sized Santa was met by the town centre company - but Kirkcaldy4All paid £18,000 to a company called Coda Books Ltd.

Clare Gambold is listed as director of both Coda Books Limited and Kreative Destiny Limited.

Coda Books Limited’s trading address in Stockport is also the same as the one announced this week by Mr Carruthers for comedy festival fans to get ticket refunds.

It also shares the same registered address as TVFifeLtd.

The invoice, dated July 6, states ‘‘contribution towards giant inflatable Santa for Kirkcaldy Town Square, to be unveiled November 24 - £15,000.’’

With VAT of £3000 on top, it took the total payment to £18,000 which was processed by BACS transfer to the HSBC Bank in Stratford Upon Avon, Warwickshire into an account in the name of Coda Books Ltd.

It was paid on July 24.

In a letter to Kirkcaldy4All, dated October 12, Ms Gambold said Kreative Destiny ‘‘had already paid the manufacturer the sum of £9927 which represents 50 per cent of the Santa structure - a sum Kreative Destiny Ltd is obviously entitled to recover from Kirkcaldy4All.’’

Richard Reed, director at Ingenious Inflatables, told the Press his company had not been paid.

Liability

Paperwork released to the Press also shows that Ms Gambold offered to waive the claim for £9927 and all ownership rights to the world record Santa project if Kirkcaldy4All assumed full liability for all remaining costs involved in the project.

She further stated that Coda Books Limited ‘‘has no actual or beneficial interest in the world record project.’’

The 36m tall inflatable Santa - which is taller than the Falkirk Wheel - was ordered through Ingenious Inflatables, a London based company which specialises in giant inflatables.

It is now sitting in a dock in China waiting on a decision.

Mr Reed said: ‘‘The inflatable could be there in five weeks, and in time, if someone pays for it, but we will not release it until I have a full understanding of what is going on.’’

Mr Reed said the company had a contract with Bob Carruthers to deliver the giant Santa for a possible world record breaking event in Kirkcaldy. Phone calls and e-mails to him had, he said, not been answered.

‘‘We have spent a lot of time on it,’’ he added.

‘‘This feels like a kick in the teeth.

‘‘We have been up to Scotland and done weeks of work on it - that’s a lot of cost and design time as well.

‘‘This isn’t just something you get off the shelf. It is a structured product, 36m high and has to be set up in place.

Opportunity

‘‘It would be a great PR opportunity for town - it would bring lots of people to see it.’’

The company was also in discussions with Mr Carruthers to provide a giant inflatable marquee which was meant to go into the Town Square and host the comedy festival’s headline acts.

Brian Blessed, Josie Long and Henning Wehn were all originally scheduled to perform in the massive structure which would have been some 50m x 20m in dimension - the size of some ice rinks.

The plans were shelved just before the launch of the official festival programme and all the acts relocated to Society in Charlotte Street.