Christmas came early to Shrewsbury on Sunday as hundreds of Santas left behind their reindeers and sleighs and set off on foot to take part in a fun run that raised £2,000 for Severn Hospice.
More than 300 people, ranging in age from pensioners to two-year-old children, paid to dress up as Santa to take part in the first ever Salop Santa Dash.
A crowd of red and white followed a 2.5-kilometre course from Salop Leisure’s Emstrey headquarters in Shrewsbury around the neighbouring Love2Stay glamping and touring resort, raising money for Severn Hospice just by taking part.
Supported by Rybrook MINI Shrewsbury and Love Fitness, the Salop Santa Dash is just one of a programme of events and activities organised this year by Salop Leisure to celebrate Christmas.
The programme has been organised by Ed Glover, Salop Leisure’s marketing manager, who said the Santa Dash was so successful that the company is already planning a bigger and better event in 2018.
“We had around 300 people take part this year and I think, through word of mouth, we could double that next year," he said. “People came from as far away at London to take part and the runners looked very impressive as they lined up at the start in their Santa suits.
"As a company, we love to give back to the local community, run events for families, get local businesses working together and support as many charities as possible.
“We are delighted that so many people of a such a wide age range took part and would like to thank them all for their support. We are still counting the money raised but we hope the final amount will be more than £2,000 for Severn Hospice, which is a charity close to the hearts of many of our staff and customers.”
Severn Hospice needs to raise £7 million a year or £24,000 a day to provide services to more than 2,000 people across Shropshire and Mid Wales annually. Patients and their families are supported either in the hospice or in their home when they need it most.
“We are delighted that so many people turned out to support the first Salop Santa Dash for Severn Hospice,” said Lucy Ruff, Severn Hospice’s fundraising manager. “The money will go towards helping us to look after patients in the wards and in their homes. A total of 85p from every pound raised goes towards care and the remaining 15p helps to raise the next £1 for the hospice.”
Salop Leisure’s exciting festive programme includes a 16-metre by nine metre ice skating rink and afternoon teas with Santa at Love2Stay and Santa’s Grotto at the company’s headquarters. The grotto will be open every weekend, every Thursday and Friday from 3pm to 6pm and every day in the week leading up to Christmas from 10am to 4pm.
The programme began with Shropshire Handmade and Vintage Christmas Fair on November 25 and 26.
The extra customers attracted by the Santa Dash helped set a weekend record for Christmas tree sales at Love Plants, Salop Leisure’s specialist plants centre. More than 200 trees were sold over the weekend.
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