Santa visits kindy
WHILE most children think that Santa Claus lives in the North Pole, the children of Clermont Kindergarten and Day Care Centre will tell you that their Santa calls Japan home.
For more than 25 years retired Japanese business executive Satoru Murai has sent Christmas gifts to the centre, a tradition he started when he was executive managing director of J-Power, a join venture partner in Blair Athol Mine.
And even though he has retired, Mr Murai continues to load up his Santa sack and send toys and gifts to the centre which the children look forward to every Christmas.
Blair Athol Mine general manager operations Andrew Cole said Mr Murai’s relationship with the staff and children of the centre was a symbol of a lasting community partnership.
“From the very beginning of the Blair Athol Mine Mr Murai was committed to establishing Clermont’s first kindergarten and day-care centre – and when it opened 25 years ago the centre was named Satoru House to reflect this dedication,” he said.
“Mr Murai would always stop into the kindy and say hello to the children, and has even donned a Santa suit to hand out his gifts over the years.”
Each year the children use their creative skills to make a special Christmas present for Mr Murai which they send to him in Japan.
Mr Cole said that Rio Tinto was committed to continuing this tradition that has grown between the Centre and the mine, and this year the company’s newest mine has funded an extension to the centre.
“Our Clermont mine has pledged to carry on the funding support of the Clermont Kindergarten over the last 25 years,” he said.