Christmas comes early! Real-life secret Santa unmasked and is dishing out £5,000 TONIGHT

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Last Christmas people living in the Clifton area of Nottingham were left stunned after a mystery Good Samaritan posted envelopes each with £100 inside through their letterboxes on Christmas Eve. All the letters had “random act of kindness” written on them and contained five crisp £20 notes.

The heartwarming act had been happening in Clifton and nearby Ruddington for five years – during which time around £16,000 has been given out.

It was never established who the selfless philanthropist was – despite intense speculation in the local area.

Nottingham City Councillor for Clifton East Maria Watson was one of many who suspected that the initiative had been conceived by self-made millionaire Joe Soiza.

Amid swirling questions about his involvement, Mr Soiza – who founded online healthcare company UK Meds with his son Mason in 2016 – has decided to admit his involvement.

And can reveal that he is due to continue his selfless exploits when he hands out a further £5,000 in letters containing £100 this evening.

He said: “This will be our sixth Christmas and it’s been harder each year to keep it anonymous.

“It’s always been quite cloak and dagger, but with a lot of whispers about who is behind it.

“People are putting two and two together, so it’s time to come clean.”

The keen horse-racing fan grew up in Clifton – which at one time was home to Europe largest council estate.

He explained that he was inspired to help people from his boyhood home after a “big win on the horses”.

“I’d seen an article about random acts of kindness, and it just struck me what a nice thing it was to do,” he said.

“The very first year we gave £3,000 to people picked at random from around Clifton.

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“It’s a community I know well, as it was where I grew up and there are genuine hardworking people that we thought might appreciate a Christmas boost.

“I saw a few posts popping up on Facebook sharing reactions to it, and it felt great to be able to help people. It made my heart warm, and we’ve kept it going ever since.

“We upped it to £5,000 last year and expanded our patch a bit further, to surprise more people.

“That was the best year yet. We are always incognito, picking out houses to post the envelopes through.

“Last year we targeted some families with kids at bus stops, jumping out of the car and handing the envelopes over, just saying ‘Merry Christmas’ and driving off.

“It was brilliant. We didn’t think we could keep it a secret forever though.”

After rumbling Mr Soiza, Cllr Watson said she had her “suspicions on who it was for a while”.

She added: “I think it’s great that they’re receiving recognition now, because this is just one way they support the community.

“Joanne, has volunteered and helped feed the homeless, donating clothes to those in need and handing out food and drinks in all weathers, while Mason has been involved with several charitable community events.

“You don’t come across that kind of generosity very often.”

“It makes our Christmas to do it, and especially when we’re in such uncertain times, we want to give others a bit of a festive feelgood factor.”

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