Santa fun runs in Leicestershire raise cash for local good causes
More than 1,000 Santas ensured the festive spirit was felt yesterday as they raised cash for good causes.
A long procession of fund-raisers, dressed in their red and white Santa suits, ran all the way from Loughborough University to the town's market place and back, accompanied by prams, pushchairs and several dogs dressed in tinsel and reindeer antlers.
Each year, the run raises tens of thousands of pounds for good causes, including Loros, the air ambulance and the Rainbows children's hospice, in Loughborough.
Jennifer Sugden and her family went the extra mile by having their Santa – Jennifer's grandmother, Gillian Cooper – complete with a sleigh.
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Jennifer, 24, of Newtown Linford, said: "I was her reindeer, dressed in antlers and a reindeer T-shirt, and we turned a wheelchair into a sleigh for her by painting cardboard and attaching it to the sides.
"There were eight of us running for a dog charity and it was really good fun.
"When we got to town we all stopped and did a bucket collection."
Among the 1,020 runners were 32 members of Team Ashmount – pupils, staff and parents from Ashmount Special School, in Loughborough.
Mairi Taylor, who runs the Fab Fitness gym, in Barrow upon Soar, was running with seven of her members. "It's a great way to stay fit and a fun thing to do in the run-up to Christmas," she said
Matt Chapman, 38, also of Barrow, was running with his family. He said: "We've done it every year and it's a nice Christmas tradition."
His 10-year-old daughter, Poppy, said: "It's my fourth year doing it and I like it because I get a new Santa suit to do it in every year."
Roger Barker, who is treasurer of the Loughborough Rotary Club, which organises the annual event, said: "It's our eighth year this year and we're very pleased with the turnout.
"It's gorgeous weather for it – the perfect weather. We got to try it in the snow a couple of years ago and it was terrible. It's very dangerous with all the ice."
At Melton Country Park, there were dozens more Santas running for good causes, as well as plenty more dogs taking part.The fun run raised an estimated £8,000.
Organiser Ron Edwards, of Melton Rotary Club, said: "The event is brilliant because it brings a lot of people together, everyone has a smile on their face, but the main thing is it raises money for local clubs and associations.
"People get to do some good and have fun which is really what Christmas is all about."
Oadby had its own Santa Dash at Brocks Hill Country Park, with 15 people taking part to raise money for the Mayor of Oadby and Wigston's charity, SSAFA, which aids servicemen and their families in times of need.