Santas return to Banbury in successful charity fun run for Katharine House Hospice
What better way to celebrate the holiday season than to surround yourself with hundreds of Santas singing Christmas carols?
I joined nearly 350 people dressed as Father Christmas for the annual Katharine House Hospice Santa Fun Run at Spiceball Park near the Banbury town centre on Sunday December 5.
I am not an avid runner, especially in the cold, but I thought the event would make for a great festive atmosphere and the charity was definitely one worth helping. The atmosphere proved very festive as one of the event's organisers wearing a Santa's elf costume led the sea of Santas in a resounding effort of singing Christmas carols during a pre-run warm-up.
The event drew everyone from couples, to multi-member families, to teams from schools and local businesses to others who brought their dog with a matching Santa outfit.
As I ran, and occasionally walked, the marked path around Spiceball Park I learned most people taking part in the event had a story.
Sarah Brown, her partner, little boy and sister were running in memory of their dad and grandfather, David Allington, who passed away at Katharine House in October. All four family members ran the 5K with a picture of David pinned on their backs.
Sarah said: “It was all the more special this year as last time we ran the Santa Fun Run in 2019 it was with my dad."
Several members of the Dixey family took part in the 5K run for the first time. Between them the family raised nearly £1,462 through their JustGiving page here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/kimberley-dixey
Kimberley Dixey said: “We took part in the fun run and raised money for Katharine House in memory of my dad who passed away earlier this year after a battle with prostate cancer.
"Katharine House did so much for my dad during his fight and also made him comfortable in his last few days."
I took part in the event in memory of my Uncle Al Johnson who received hospice care near Atlanta, Georgia, USA before losing his battle to cancer. I raised £300 through a JustGiving web page during the event.
The Santa costume I wore even brought a smile to a school boy's face in the local Co-op supermarket I stopped in after the event. His face lit up with a huge smile as he saw me in the queue behind his family. He called out 'bye Santa' as they left the store.
As a whole organisers called the event's return this year a huge success.
Helen Lerwill, the events projects manager for Katharine House Hospice, said: “It was just so wonderful to see hundreds of Santas weaving their way around Spiceball Park again, especially after we were unable to do it last year.
"A huge thank you to everyone for taking part and to those who helped to make the event such a success. The support of our community is fundamental to our patients, the hospice simply wouldn’t be here without you.”