Hun­dreds of San­tas in all shapes and sizes take part in dash

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE - by Camilla Good­man camilla.good­man@trin­i­tymir­ Twit­ter: @Camil­la_Good­man

A 600-STRONG sea of San­tas on two and four legs raised £20,000 for a hospice by tak­ing part in a dash.

Fam­i­lies, col­leagues, ‘jin­gle dogs’ and friends turned out en masse to kick start their Christ­mas on Sun­day at The Hospice of St Fran­cis’ eighth an­nual Santa Dash in Hemel Hemp­stead.

Teams from all over Bucks and Herts took part, sprint­ing, scooting and strolling the 2.5-mile course, but the big­gest team of the day was from Bov­ing­don Pri­mary Acad­emy, led by 10-yearold pupil and school sports am­bas­sador Sam Mor­ley, whose mum Liz, and grand­dad Michael Beever, were both cared for by the hospice, be­fore they died in April 2012 and Septem­ber 2014 re­spec­tively.

Sam, from Shothanger Way, Bov­ing­don, said: “It was really good fun and a bril­liant at­mos­phere. I wanted to help the hospice be­cause they’ve helped us and I thought it would be really good to get a lot of peo­ple from my school in­volved.”

Eight-year-old twins Wil­liam and Os­car Daw­son, from Che­sham Road, Ash­ley Green, were part of the school team – dash­ing for the first time with their ac­coun­tant mum Cathy.

Cathy, 49, said: “We knew Sam But­ler, who spent her fi­nal weeks at the hospice and the whole event just looked like enor­mous fun and a very good way of rais­ing funds for a great cause.

“The boys had a whale of a time. We ran the whole way round and they ran with their friends. They en­joyed the mince pies af­ter­wards and wore their Santa out­fits for the rest of the day!”

Sprint­ers set off first, scoot­ers and bikes fol­lowed, and strollers, bug­gies and wheel­chairs brought up the rear. Ca­nine com­pan­ions were out in force too, wear­ing Santa coats, sea­sonal ruf­fles or a touch of tin­sel.

Husky dogs Al­fie and Yukon really looked the part as they pulled round their owner Nigel Brand, from The Chase, Che­sham, and fel­low Che­shamite Char­lotte Nor­ris, 38, from Broad­lands Av­enue.

Mrs Nor­ris said: “It was such good fun and a bril­liant at­mos­phere. Just be­ing one of hun­dreds of San­tas dash­ing around Hemel in their Santa out­fits, rais­ing money for such an amaz­ing lo­cal cause was fan­tas­tic.

“Do­ing the Santa Dash is a re­minder of how pre­cious life is. Just by giv­ing up a small amount of your time and do­nat­ing what you can af­ford goes a long way to help­ing fam­i­lies who are go­ing through a much tougher time than you, es­pe­cially at Christ­mas.”

Events fundraiser at the hospice Nicky Maxwell-Braith­waite said: “We’re so grate­ful for the amaz­ing sup­port we’ve re­ceived.

“We couldn’t have done it with­out you!”

Ready, steady, ho: Hun­dreds took part in the eighth an­nual Santa Dash

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