Santas hit the road to aid air ambulance

Swindon Advertiser: The Santas on their marks The Santas on their marks

LYDIARD Park was awash with festive cheer and bushy beards on Sunday morning at the annual Santa Run.

More than 280 runners dressed from head to toe in red and white to raise money for the Wiltshire Air Ambulance.

Despite the cold weather the turnout was much bigger than last year with the Rotary Club, which organised the event and hopes to raise £8,000 in total.

Paul Parfrey helped put the event together and said he was delighted with the number of people taking part.

He said: “It’s absolutely great to see so many people coming out for such a good cause.

“Everyone is here to have fun and there is a fantastic atmosphere so we’re all very pleased. It is a big increase on the 200 or so who ran last year.

“It’s also raising money for a very worthy local cause.”

The run was 5,000 metres long and there was a wide range of Santas, from families enjoying the day to some running with their dog.

A 15-minute Zumba session was held to give everyone the opportunity to limber up in preparation.

There was also a minute silence to remember those who died in Glasgow’s helicopter crash on Saturday.

“I think, because of the cause we are raising money for, today has a little more poignancy,” said Paul.

“The Wiltshire Air Ambulance is such a great charity and does such good work in the area, which is why we have chosen them for the second year running.

“I think a lot of people taking part have been or know someone who has been helped by them.”

Last year’s event raised almost £6,000 for the air ambulance, which is expected to be beaten when all the sponsorship money comes in.

Aña Exton, who works for the charity, said: “It’s so good to see so many people out and it’s a brilliant event.

“Today takes on more meaning. The organisation of it has been superb.”

There was a mixture of serious runners and some who were just out to enjoy the day.

Laura Hall, 24, of Grange Park, said: “I have done a run to raise money for the Air Ambulance before and it is such a great cause.

“It’s a bit of fun and I’m not taking it too seriously. It’s an excuse to get out on a Sunday morning even though it is quite cold.

“The important thing is to raise as much money as possible for a good cause.”

Kevin Little, 32, also of Grange Park, said: “I enjoy running and do it quite a bit anyway so this is an opportunity to raise a bit of money while doing it.

“It’s about having fun and it’s great to see so many people have come out for such a good local cause.”

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