Claus for a cause at hospice charity Festive Fun Day

Supporters of a local children’s hospice kicked off the countdown to Christmas by taking part in a festive charity event at the weekend.

County-wide charity Havens Hospices held its Festive Fun Day event, sponsored by Piccadilly Whip, to raise vital funds for its children’s hospice, Little Havens, based in Thundersley, on Sunday 3rd December at Wat Tyler Country Park.

Supporters donned their Santa suits or reindeer antlers to raise vital funds and get into the Christmas spirit.

As well as a 2K or 4K Santa fun run, there were a variety of stalls at a Christmas Market, Father Christmas was in his grotto handing out gifts, along with a festive toy sale and live music from local Breeze Radio.

The fun run this year was started by some special participants of the race, a family who use the services of Little Havens. Jack, 10, alongside his dad, Rob, had the all-important job of counting down the start of the fun run before completing the 2K race himself. Jack was born with two rare and life-limiting conditions, and it was a poignant reminder to runners of why events like the Festive Fun Day are vital to ensure Little Havens can continue to provide its specialist care within the community.

One local supporter who certainly put the ‘fun’ in fundraising was Hayley Black from Canvey Island. Hayley, along with her three friends Joanne Barton, Michelle Norman and Katherine Tsang Orr, donned blow-up gingerbread men costumes for their 4K run. Hayley has previously completed many challenges wearing fancy dress for the children’s hospice.

She said after the fun run: “No other event has the atmosphere like the Havens Hospices Santa fun run. There is always a special glow and feel in the air that’s magical from start to finish, and everyone supports everyone. We love choosing an outfit to bring as many smiles to people’s faces as possible for such an amazing charity that has put so much into the event.”

Susie May, Events Fundraiser at Havens Hospices, said, “On behalf of everybody at Little Havens, we’d like to thank every single Santa and Reindeer who took part and helped us get into the Christmas spirit this weekend while raising money for their local children’s hospice.   The event was a great success, with people of all ages and abilities, including babies in their buggies and people in their 90s, enjoying the Christmassy atmosphere together.

“The Festive Fun Day would not have been possible without all of our volunteers who give up their time on the weekend to make sure everything runs smoothly, even in the cold and rainy weather.

“A huge thanks must also go to our sponsor Piccadilly Whip, who also provided some delicious festive food at the event, Father Christmas for fitting us into his busy schedule, ESL for the staging, and Wat Tyler Country Park and First Bus for all their support in the lead up to the event.”

“We must raise more than £83,000 a week to care for every child and young person, and their families, at Little Havens, and we simply couldn’t provide this specialist care without the generosity and support of the community.

“Our care doesn’t stop at Christmas, our doors never close. Thanks to your donations, we can continue to make every day count for children and their families who have been given the devasting news of an incurable illness.”

For more information about how you can support Havens Hospices this Christmas, visit

Published 4th December 2023

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