HUNDREDS of red faced Santas dashed around Huddersfield yesterday to raise thousands of pounds for charity.
Huddersfield Lions organise the annual Santa Dash which last year raised £6,000 for good causes – and with three times more runners taking part this year organisers hope the tally will be higher too.
The 239 participants donned Santa suits, complete with fluffy white beards, while youngsters sported festive reindeer antlers and flashing noses to dash, run, walk, skip or hop the one-mile course.
The event kicked off at Yates’ Wine Bar on King Street, Huddersfield, with a route around the town centre which was suitable for wheelchair and pushchair users.
Laura Crane Youth Cancer Trust Ambassador Andy Raleigh – a Wakefield Wildcats player – started the race after a countdown, to cheers from the crowd.
Shoppers heading towards Kingsgate were greeted to puffing Santas and red nosed children.
Bob Armitage of Huddersfield Lions said: “Absolutely fantastic. A great event. We had nearly three times as many entrants as last year.
“We have used social media and people have really got behind it.
“Entrants are raising money for 24 charities and groups which is again incredible.”
Click on the link below for a gallery of Santas taking part in the event - are you or your friends pictured?Related content
Among the runners were workers from B&Q on Leeds Road who donned the trademark orange aprons over their red suits.
Ruth Brook, 32, of Almondbury, said: “There are five of us from the store and this is the first time we have done the race.
“We are running for The Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice and hope to raise £500.”
And the British Heart Foundation had more than 15 family and friends running for the charity.
Daniel and Joanne Walter, of Golcar, lost their mum Elizabeth Tatlock, 61, in June and are raising money for the British Heart Foundation.
Daniel said: “It’s just a fun way of raising money for a charity which is close to us.
“Mum would have been so proud.”
The group have raised more than £1,800 already and hope further funds will keep coming.
The event attracted children in their droves including six-year-old Hayleigh Baldwin, who had her face painted as a reindeer and her eight-year-old brother Ben, of New Mill.
Mum Veronica Baldwin, 44, said: “We heard about the race from a friend and just thought it was a great idea.
“It’s a really great atmosphere.”
Shelley College students Hannah Berry, 15, Megan Swales, 14, and Matthew Kay, 14, took part to raise funds for their school trip to Kenya.
Megan’s mum, Samantha, said: “They are going to Kenya for a month with Camps International so the money they raise will go towards the trip in 2014.”
This is the second year the Lions have organised the event with previous successful Santa fundraisers in recent years staged by the Laura Crane Youth Cancer Trust, which also had runners in this year’s event.
To get involved with Huddersfield Lions contact Bob Armitage on 07802 900653.
Examiner reporter and Santa Dash runner Louise Cooper takes us through her dash!
IN a Santa-packed pub I made my way through the crowds to the registration table.
The place was buzzing with activity and aptly ‘Santa Claus is Coming To Town’ was blasting out on the sound system as I headed to collect my all important red suit.
I was handed a neatly packed plastic bag where I found my trousers and tunic, a black belt complete with buckle, a beard and hat.
So many items – I was already struggling to keep hold of them along with my notepad, pen and phone.
The one-size-fits-all suit was great and I slipped it on no problem and already felt ‘at one’ with my new identity.
Heading outside where Santas were milling about I switched to ‘reporter mode’ and approached several groups for comments before dashing up to the tinsel start line to video the race commencing.
After a countdown start and cheers from the crowd I still had my phone in hand as I swiftly filed in to a throng of Santas and puffed my way up King Street, then turned left through the Piazza.
I pushed my beard on for the full ‘Santa experience’ as I had been so caught up in the moment my costume had been neglected.
I then began to think I had worn too many clothes, forgetting how warm the suit would be, but as we reached Market Street I felt the chill of the cold wind and was grateful for my many layers.
The race went by in a blur as I lapped Santas who were sauntering and headed back to the bottom of King Street.
The finish line was made even more magical with a visit from the big man himself and I couldn’t resist a picture with him to post on my fundraising Facebook page.