THE Butts Shopping Centre unveiled its grotto 46 years ago and Father Christmas allowed the Chronicle an insight into his working day.

Despite having to welcome nearly 2,000 youngsters he admitted: “I find it easy to do the patter, it comes automatically, I ask them what they want for Christmas and remember to keep smiling.”

“The majority of children are good as gold, but you do get some that come in and get hold of my beard and give it a good tug. One child decided she wanted a pony, so I looked across to her mother who nodded that she will be receiving one, so I was off the hook.”

ALSO READ: Dozens more flats planned at huge 1,200-home Station Hill development

Angry residents were launching a campaign against road closure plans in 1976, which had just been passed by a one vote margin at Woodley Town Council.

The experimental period for the closures would include Duffield Road and Lavenham Drive, where residents had already gathered 200 signatures to a petition.

Woodley county councillor, David Smith told the Chronicle:” This experiment is ludicrous and, if enforced, it will cause chaos in Church Road.”

School crossing warden, Jacqueline Buck, explained that any increase in traffic would make her job more difficult, she added: “There are 200 cyclists who use the road to and from school every morning and afternoon, these plans will only increase the danger to children.”

Two couples from Caversham shared a special day in 1976, when they celebrated their silver and golden weddings on the same day.

The mother and daughter brides Olive Loweth and Enid Mitchell had previously married their respective husbands, Stanley and Alan 25 years apart, at the same church.

Amazingly, nearly everyone who attended the two wedding days were invited to a dinner and dance at the Caversham Bridge Hotel, on the same date as the two ceremonies.

Two student nurses, Paul Grimer and David Smith, dressed intentionally to make heads turn in Reading’s Broad Street to advertise a ‘free’ charity concert in aid of Borocourt Hospital, Tilehurst.

David Kossoff, whose son Paul was the legendary guitarist with the band “Free”, was due to appear at Reading Town Hall in his one-man show.

ALSO READ: Former neighbour to the Queen celebrates 100th birthday

Smallmead Stadium’s debut night of hot-rod racing went off with a bang, but the organisers were left with a repair bill of £500.

The motorised mayhem knocked out two water mains and churned up the central area of grass, but the first meeting was still considered a success.

Car promoter Trevor Redmond told the Chronicle: “Stock car racing certainly isn’t a pussyfooting business, but we’ll be making good those repairs before Friday.”

The 40th annual Reading Band Festival attracted a record number of entries in 1976, including local group Spring Gardens, who performed alongside 73 other groups at the Town Hall, in front Mayor Joan Saunders.