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Revealed: Meet the woman who secretly delivered more than 200 gifts to homes in her Suffolk village and became known as the Elmswell Elf





She's been the talk of the village for the past month.

After leaving more than 200 gifts on people's doorsteps under the cover of night - the identity of the mysterious Elmswell Elf can finally be revealed.

Tanya Utting made national newspaper headlines and even a prime-time TV appearance thanks to her undercover endeavours, which left hundreds of Suffolk villagers puzzled.

Tanya Utting, the Elmswell Elf. Pictures by Mecha Morton
Tanya Utting, the Elmswell Elf. Pictures by Mecha Morton

Some even thought she was up to no good.

But the 37-year-old supermarket worker, who has lived in Elmswell for more than 10 years, has finally agreed to be unmasked - her mission complete.

"I dropped off the last present last night bringing the total to 220 gifts," said Tanya.

"I hope people enjoyed the surprise presents and wish everyone a happy Christmas."

Tanya was inspired to take up her gift-giving mission by elderly residents living at Manns Court in the village.

“Some youths had been causing trouble near their housing and I wanted to show them the village was a great place to live and offer them some support," said Tanya, who works at Tesco at St Saviours interchange.

“I then had the idea to drop off presents to other houses as well and started at the end of November.”

Husband Richard, Tanya Utting, and daughter Tilly.
Husband Richard, Tanya Utting, and daughter Tilly.

Tanya told her husband Richard, 43, a welder, and daughter Tilly, seven, what she was up to. They both helped out.

The surprise presents included poinsettias, amaryllis, hyacinth bulbs, potted plants and ceramic houses with plants inside.

She also bought chocolate gifts including Kit Kat Santas, Malteser Reindeers and Dairy Milk Snowmen

“I left them late at night with a Christmas card,” said Tanya.

“I didn’t sign the card at all in case it gave any clues.

Giving out presents is something I have been planning for about a year and it’s been tricky to keep my identity a secret this long.

Half way through her plan, Tanya was caught on a doorbell camera and the homeowner posted the footage on Facebook.

“People suggested I was up to all kinds of things from planting electronic devices to targeting houses, and even trying to poison people,” she said.

The Elmswell Elf on This Morning. Image: ITV
The Elmswell Elf on This Morning. Image: ITV

“I was a bit hurt and also worried people thought I was some kind of weird, mental, crazy stalker type.

"But I carried on anyway as I just wanted to do my bit for community spirit and spread some Christmas cheer."

Tanya was also surprised to get a call from ITV’s This Morning programme who wanted her to appear on the show.

“They agreed I could I wear a silver wig, have my back to the camera, and to disguise my voice,” she said.

I'd never thought it would get to that level and was a bit overwhelmed.

“There was lots of talk in the village after that about who the elf was.

"People at work also wondered why I was buying so many things.

“I did tell my boss, Sarah, though, and she helped out with a the odd gift, too.”