A RALLYING call has been issued to rouse Santas from their pre-Christmas rest for an iconic fun run.

Helen & Douglas House is seeking last-minute participants to join a mass of jolly Santas, who will jingle through Oxford’s streets on Sunday morning.

Online registration for the hospice’s Santas on the Run event closes at midday tomorrow, but people can also turn up on the day to sign up at Exeter College in Broad Street.

From there up to 2,000 people dressed in red suits will sprint, jog or walk the 3.5km route.

Jane Smith, whose son Jack has been visiting the East Oxford hospice for 13 years, encouraged people to take part to support families affected by life-limiting illness and disability.

The Bampton resident said: “Helen & Douglas House is a lifeline to us.

“When you get there, you are kind of cocooned in a place where everything is alright.

“It is knowing that at the end of the day there is somewhere we can go, someone who can take over. That is quite big, actually, as there is no-one else.”

Jack, now aged 15, has cerebral palsy and epilepsy and has had respite stays at Helen & Douglas House since he was two.

He enjoys using the hospice spa for his muscles and joints, the garden, craft activities and relaxing in the sensory room.

His mum added: “It is somewhere he can go and do something a bit different - he can get away with a few more things than at home and have a bit of naughty time.

“He might stay up a bit later, get up a bit later, all those kind of things.

“He also gets one-to-one attention which isn’t always possible at home.”

Kay Lyon, whose six-year-old daughter Sienna also visits the hospice, echoed the call for Santas.

Sienna, who lives in Wootton near Abingdon, has a rare form of epilepsy called Dravet Syndrome.

She got into the Christmas spirit during a stay at the hospice a couple of weeks ago, dressing in a snow queen costume.

Her mum said: “We feel secure in knowing that for a few weeks over the year, our daughter has a safe place to go while we take a break from caring for her.

“It makes you feel normal again and able to carry on with one of the hardest roles there is in life.

“But most of all, we feel so grateful that there is a special, loving, place for us all to go if ever she needs end-of-life care.”

For details or sign-up, see helenanddouglas.org.uk.