Get involved: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting OXFORD NEWS to 80360 or email us
Ho, ho, hold the mince pies, I’ve got a hospice to help!
HUNDREDS of Santas abandoned their sleighs to run through the streets of Oxford yesterday.
A record 1,700 people put present preparations on hold to don Santa suits for a charity fundraiser.
The seventh annual Santas on the Run raises money for Helen & Douglas House children’s hospice.
Care team member at Helen & Douglas House, Jane Channon, finished an 11-hour night shift at 8am and headed straight to the run for the 9.15am start.
The 53-year-old said: “I have taken part in every one so far, this is my seventh time doing it, so I wasn’t about to miss it.
“If people didn’t raise money like this we wouldn’t have Helen & Douglas House and be able to support children and young adults in their short lives, something which is an absolute honour.”
- Mike, Ollie and Fi Illingworth
Among the runners were the parents and twin brother of Ben Illingworth, who died in October last year.
The nine-year-old suffered from Sanfilippo syndrome, a rare disease which stopped him breaking down substances in the body, leading to cell damage. The family used Helen & Douglas house and are still supported by them – Ben’s twin brother Ollie also has the condition.
Mum Fi, 42, and dad Mike Illingworth, 39, from Cogges estate in Witney, jogged the run with friends while pushing 11-year-old Ollie in his wheelchair.
Mr Illingworth said: “It is such a happy place. Even in our darkest hour they helped us feel positive and upbeat.”
The Santas, and the odd reindeer, started in Catte Street at 9.15am for the two-mile circuit around University Parks.
First across the finish line was Tom Scott, from Raleigh Park Road, Botley, after 11 minutes and 59 seconds.
The dad-of-three was cheered on by children Laurence, 15, Isis, 12, and Alfred, nine. He said: “It is nice to do something like this in the centre of your own home town, and for Oxford’s hospice, which means so much to so many.”
- Tommy Winter, aged six, beats dad Stuart in a sprint finish
But with so many Santas, finding the real one was tricky. Six-year-old Tommy Winter from Woodeaton was on the lookout, before he was distracted by a sprint finish with dad Stuart Winter, 41.
Tommy said: “I won. But I don’t think we could spot the real Santa because there were so many.”
Last year 1,500 Santas took part, raising £70,000, but this year the council gave permission to extend the number by 200. Organisers are hoping this year’s 1,700 runners raise about £85,000 when the total is announced in January.
Comments are closed on this article.