CARING Santa Roger Marshall, 71, has been voted Stroud’s best Santa.

The competition for the Merrywalks Centre Santa Claus 2012, which launched earlier this month, saw Roger as the clear favourite for the title.

He was described as not only looked like Santa, but also that he embodied the caring and sharing persona, due to his support of many local charities and he appears as Santa for free across town.

Roger, who is from Paganhill, grows his hair and beard at this time of year to make sure he looks completely realistic and consistent.

Roger’s daughter, Tracy Payne, said: "He is kind, patient, jolly and loves seeing the children’s faces when they see him. He truly deserves to be the best Santa in Stroud."

Ray Ellaby from the Merrywalks Centre presented Roger with his prize, a £50 Argos voucher, on Friday, December 21 in the Santa’s Grotto at Blooms Garden Centre, Haresfield, which he donated to the Family Haven Charity.

Roger, who celebrated his 71st birthday on Thursday, December 20, also appeared on ITV’s This Morning on the same day.