In the pink for Santa Parade

Tickled pink . . . Warren "Poppa" Ockwell and Rainbow Preschool pupil Ayesha Reddy (4) take a Barbie car for a drive in South Dunedin on Friday. PHOTO: SHAWN MCAVINUE

Get set to think pink for the upcoming Santa Parade.

Warren “Poppa” Ockwell (83), of St Kilda, retired as a carpenter and joiner about 20 years ago, and began regular visits to Rainbow Preschool, where his daughter Wendy-Anne Jarvis works as a family support co-ordinator.

Since 2000, he had built several novelty cars for the preschool to enter in Dunedin’s annual Santa Parade.

The themes for the cars have included Postman Pat, the fat and skinny controllers from Thomas the Tank Engine, Batman and Spider-Man.

When he started to think of a design this year, he realised he needed to add a more feminine car to the fleet set to travel in the parade on December 1.

He got to work and made a bright pink Barbie car.

The preschool pupils loved the Barbie car when it was unveiled at the centre.

He thanked the community for supporting him and giving him items, such as a mobility scooter, to make the cars.

“They really believe in what I do.”

The projects were “the making of me” and seeing the children enjoy the cars gave him back much more than the effort it took to build them, he said.