19/11/2012 08:30 GMT | Updated 20/11/2012 11:26 GMT

Santa Claus Left Hanging By His Beard At Reading Christmas Lights Switch-On

It was more ‘oh no no no’ than ‘ho ho ho’ when a Father Christmas was left hanging by his beard for more than 30 minutes after an abseiling stunt went wrong.

The ropey manoeuvre took place during the Christmas-lights switch-on at Broad Street Mall in Reading.

Corrie stars Michelle Keegan and Chris Fountain and a crowd of hundreds watched the Santa, played by soldier Steve Chessell, dangle 15ft above the ground on Saturday afternoon.

The 32-year-old was eventually rescued and brought down to safety by fellow soldier Marc Hilton, according to The Reading Chronicle.

Eyewitness Ryan Gaudreau told the BBC: "Everyone was laughing at him - he didn't really know what to do."

Stephanie Maynard, the centre's marketing manager, said he stayed up the rope for so long because he wanted to stay in character.

She told the BBC: "He could have just taken his beard off and let himself down but he was such a professional and he didn't want to let the children down.

"He lost his footing as he came through the hole in the ceiling and there was a sudden jolt and he got caught in the clip on the rope."