charity fundraisers on santa’s nice list

03 December 2018

Supporters of Little Havens Hospice are all on Santa’s nice list after completing our fundraising Santa run at the weekend.

On Sunday 2nd December Havens Hospices held their Run Santa Run and Reindeer Race at Wat Tyler Country Park, Basildon to raise money for Little Havens, with more than 750 people showing their support and entering into the Christmas spirit.

As well as the 4.5k Santa Run and 2k Reindeer Race, Father Christmas was in his grotto handing out gifts there was also Christmas characters marshalling the route, a festive toy sale, live music from HeartBeat Duo and a snowboarding simulator.

It is hoped £20,000 will be raised from the event to help care for seriously ill babies, children, and teenagers at Little Havens Hospice. Some runners also raised funds for the charity’s other hospice services which includes Fair Havens for adults and The J’s for young people

Nine-year-old Mitchell took part in the Santa Run with his Dad, Garrie in memory of his mum Julie who was cared for by Fair Havens. Julie who was 45 years old was admitted to the hospice for end-of-life care on 24th September 2018 and she died on 1st November.

Julie was well known and well liked throughout the family’s local community, having helped out at Mitchell’s school Plumberow Primary Academy for a few years; so, Garrie and Mitchell, with the help of a few friends, extended the invite for Team Julie to schoolmates and the community. On Sunday the father and son duo were joined by a team of nearly 200 people.

Julie's Husband, Garrie said,

“We are overwhelmed by the response to be honest – when Denise and Louise, two of Julie’s closest friends suggested widening our team invite, we thought maybe Mitchell’s school friends would come along – but we never thought we’d be running as part of a team of 200!

"Julie would have said we were all crackers and would have found it hilarious – especially considering she wasn’t a fan of running herself, she did like Christmas though! 
One of the lasting legacies at the school is the fact she would dress up as a Christmas Fairy for the Grotto; so it does feel fitting to be running as Santa in memory of her. 

"We wanted to raise money for the wonderful charity that cared for my wife and Mitchell’s Mum in her final weeks. They absolutely went above and beyond for Julie and the care was sensational for all of us. When you are facing the worst few weeks you can possibly imagine, it is amazing to be able to go somewhere that understands and where the staff are given the time to care for their patients, it was so reassuring and a relief to know that Julie was in the safest hands.”

Mitchell added,

“I think Mum would be gobsmacked – I’m gobsmacked, it is amazing that all these people are here running with us for Mum. Thank you to everyone at Plumberow who ran with me today.”

Family friend Denise said,

“Originally, Garrie suggested doing the Santa Run when Julie was at Fair Havens – I’d just visited them and he said it in an almost non-committal way; so I decided I’d sign him up along with Mitchell and my family – it then snowballed from there.

“When I first visited Julie at Fair Havens, I didn’t know what to expect, but honestly it is the happiest, warmest place I’ve been – it took my breath away how happy the family was there. It was like they were able to be themselves rather than a patient and a carer and for me that gave me all the motivation I’d ever need to raise funds for the charity.”

Louise who helped organise the team from Plumberow said

“When Denise told me about the Santa Run and the possibility of joining them at the start line – I didn’t hesitate and I suggested that other pupils from Plumberow might want to join. I thought it would be a positive thing to do for Mitchell and his classmates, considering many of them knew Julie from her time helping at the school.

"The response has been amazing – we’ve had ex-pupils come back for the weekend just to run, we’ve had teachers and parents who knew Julie from the PTA sign up as well as siblings, parents and grandparents of Mitchell’s classmates. Some of the parents and teachers have also decided to organise other events to raise vital funds for the charity in memory of Julie.”

Team Julie have so far raised nearly £1400 for Little Havens Hospices from their entry fees alone and are have raised over £3,500 so far for Fair Havens.  

Garrie said,

“I would like to say a huge thank you to Denise and Louise who have really organised the team, to the staff, pupils and parents at Plumberow for their support and for running alongside us and raising such a phenomenal amount to help the charity that helped us to continue ‘Making every day count’ for families across Essex for as long as they are needed.”

Havens Hospices Events Fundraiser, Cathryn Wood, said,

“I’d like to thank every single Santa and Reindeer that took part and helped us all get in the Christmas spirit this weekend while raising money for their local children’s hospice and also to everyone who volunteered their time on the day, all of our marshals, HeartBeat Duo, Shoot 4 Goal for providing the snowboard simulator, our patron Heart Essex’s Su Harrison who not only MC’d the event, but also led the warm-up and also Wat Tyler County Park for being so accommodating.

“We must raise £46,000 a week to care for every baby, child and teenager at Little Havens and we simply couldn’t provide this specialist care without the help of our dedicated supporters. To them and everyone else who came out to cheer them on this weekend we wish you all a very Merry Christmas.”

For more information on Havens Hospices events or for fundraising ideas visit their Facebook page at

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