Havens Hospices held its annual Run Santa Run event to raise vital funds for its children’s hospice Little Havens based in Thundersley, on Sunday 4th December at Wat Tyler Country Park, Basildon.
More than 400 people donned their Santa suits or reindeer antlers to show their support and get into the Christmas spirit for the first time since 2019 due to the pandemic.
As well as the 2K or 4K Santa Run, Father Christmas was in his grotto handing out gifts along with a festive toy sale, live music from Chelmer Radio and Christmas carols from Buskerteers choir.
One local supporter who certainly put the ‘fun’ in fundraising was Hayley Black from Canvey Island. She braved wearing a blow-up Christmas Tree costume for her 4K run and has previously completed many challenges wearing fancy dress costumes for the children’s hospice. She said: “The atmosphere has been absolutely incredible here today. If people weren’t feeling Christmassy before they turned up, then they certainly are now. To support Little Havens is amazing and I always try and raise money for the charity as much as I can. It’s always fun and the staff are incredibly supportive.”
The eldest participant to complete the route was 91-year-old Ron Stafford. He walked the race with staff from Bluebird Care. He said: “I have had a really enjoyable day at the event and enjoy this time of year. I absolutely love walking and go walking every day. Walking enables me to get out of the house for some fresh air and to meet and have a chat with people.”
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 all get in the Christmas spirit this weekend while raising money for their local children’s hospice.
“A huge thanks must also go to everyone who volunteered their time on the day, all of our marshals, the Buskerteers, Chelmer Radio and Radio Essex’s Su Harrison for MC’ing the event.
“We’re also so grateful for the South Essex Gymnastics Club for leading the warm-up and also Wat Tyler County Park for being so accommodating. A thank you also must go out to our brilliant Santa, Basildon Sea Cadets, FedEx Cares, Tesco in Pitsea and Morrisons in Eastwood for their kind donations of chocolates and our two volunteer photographers.
“We must raise more than £52,000 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.”
For more information on Havens Hospices events or for fundraising ideas visit its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/havensevents.