Elysium Retirement Village residents spread Christmas cheer

CHRISTMAS SPIRIT: Lachlan Teese, Mia Teese, Keith Reinke, Courtney Teese and Abbey Teese. Mr Reinke handed out more than 7000 presents to local children over Christmas.

CHRISTMAS SPIRIT: Lachlan Teese, Mia Teese, Keith Reinke, Courtney Teese and Abbey Teese. Mr Reinke handed out more than 7000 presents to local children over Christmas.

A group of community-minded retirees gave out more than 7000 Christmas presents to local children over the festive season.

Each December Elysium Village in Beaudesert is decorated with Christmas lights and residents, led by long-term Beaudesert man Keith Reinke, organise and hand out gifts to brighten up the lives of kids in the area.

Mr Reinke, who ran Reinke’s Four Square Store on Tina Street for 25 years, dresses up as Santa Claus most nights throughout the month and sits at the front of his unit awaiting the young families who visit the village to explore the light show.

He said he did it purely to see the smiles on the children’s faces.

“I really enjoy it,” he said.

“I love the kids.

“They all tell me how good they have been and what they would like for Christmas.”

Mr Reinke said it was heartwarming to hear many of the kids ask for world peace rather than tangible items.

He said he had always loved Christmas and used to play Santa at Browns Plains shopping centre before suffering a life-changing head injury in a fall down his back steps during a storm six years ago.

“I died three or four times that night,” he said.

The accident may have slowed Mr Reinke down a little but it did not dull his passion for giving.

After taking several years off, the residents at Elysium, where Mr Reinke and his wife, Gail, have lived for nine years, asked him two years ago to reprise the role of Santa and he was more than happy to oblige.

Mr Reinke thanked the many local businesses and community members who donated presents ranging from miniature toys to colouring in books and pencils, and his wife and friends Colleen, Shirley, Anne and Gillian for their help wrapping each gift.