South Yorkshire taxi driver’s Santa beard banned due to safety fears

Taxi driver David Leonard of Barnsley
Taxi driver David Leonard of Barnsley

A taxi driver who wanted to dress as Santa to raise money for charity has been banned – after being told his beard would break health and safety laws.

Dave Leonard had acquired a Father Christmas suit to collect funds for Barnsley Hospice.

The 43-year-old dad-of-three, from Hoyland, was told by Barnsley Council he could adorn his vehicle with lights and baubles and could have a bucket collection for passengers.

They said he could even wear the red and white suit behind the wheel – but drew the line at the white beard.

Officers explained it would stop people being able to identify him and would not match his ID card.

“I just thought it was quite funny and that maybe if I left it for a little bit they might come round – but they didn’t,” said Dave.

“I have had to grow my own beard.”

Dave is driving around wearing the incomplete costume in his minibus, decked out with festive lights, garlands of flowers, snowmen and reindeers.

He raised £765 with just a bucket collection in 2013 and is aiming for £2,500 this year.

The council’s Coun Roy Miller said: “He had been advised not to wear a false beard as this would obscure his face. Safety of the public is our paramount concern, but we wish Mr Leonard every success in his fund-raising initiative.”