Airport Santa helping Hospice

Paterson will be ready once again for Christmas at the airport in 2014

Airport Santa Al Paterson shaved off his beard and hair on Thursday

Airport Santa Al Paterson shaved off his beard and hair on Thursday

Santa shaved it all off this week at the Victoria International Airport. But don’t worry, the demise of the white hair and big white beard was for a good cause.

Al Paterson, known to many as Airport Santa, shaved off his long white hair and beard on Jan. 9 in support of Victoria Hospice.

Paterson works as a Commissionaire at the airport and began his role as Airport Santa in 2009, after his wife died of cancer, with the idea to raise money for Victoria Hospice (he was moonlighting as Santa Claus years before when he was in the Royal Canadian Navy).

“I like to donate to the hospice because they really do a phenomenal job,” said Paterson last Thursday.

This year he has raised almost $4,000 for the Hospice.

The charitable organiztion  which relies on donations from the community to offer end of life care, bereavement support for families and spiritual care, among other things, for patients with critical illnesses and their families.

“Since 2009 he’s donated over $12,000 to us and we appreciate it so much,” said Wendy Innes, the corporate and community relations manager for Victoria Hospice.

“We rely on donations from the community so to have a community member like this supporting us really means a lot.”

Now that he’s lost the hair and the beard, Patterson will begin growing both in order to be in top form come 2014’s holiday season.