Even before the last autumn leaves are off the trees, the Rodrigues family from Hazelwood Lane Abbots Langley are already feeling Christmassy having signed up to join our annual Santa Dash!
Registration has just opened for the festive fundraiser around Hemel Hempstead, starting at Riverside, on Sunday 13 December and local families, friends and even jingle dogs are being invited to follow the Rodrigues’ lead and sign-up to secure their Santa-space.
Dad Ken, 42, explains why he is so keen on the pre-Christmas event: “When I first saw the Santa Dash advertised four years ago I thought it would be a laugh to get into a Santa outfit, rope the family in (mum Sarah and children Lucy and Ethan) and run down Hemel Hempstead High Street whilst raising money for a worthy local cause. The event exceeded our expectations and our whole family have been doing it every year since!
“In fact the Dash has taken on more poignancy now as my father lost his battle with cancer last year and, though he passed away too quickly to be admitted to The Hospice of St Francis, it was this life event that made me fully appreciate the fantastic work the NHS, Macmillan, Social Services and of course hospices do.
“Besides getting into a Santa outfit and spending an hilarious couple of hours running around Hemel with other Santas and raising money for a local charity (we usually well over £100 as a family), doing the Santa Dash is a reminder of how precious life is. Just by giving up a small amount of your time and donating what you can afford goes a long way to helping families who are going through a much tougher time than you, especially at Christmas time.
Our Santa Dash starts at 10am on Sunday 13th December when hundreds of Santas will congregate at Riverside, Hemel Hempstead and set off when the claxon sounds to walk, dash, scoot or jog the 2.5 mile route.
“As well as hoards of Santas, last year we had huskies, pugs, cockapoodles and labradoodles dashing for us and are hoping more well-behaved family dogs will join in the fun this year,” laughs Nicky Hamilton-Braithwaite, Events Organiser.
She continues, “The Santa Dash marks the start of Christmas Celebrations for local people, it’s a fabulous family event with a cheery festive atmosphere, everyone’s in high spirits, the real Santa Claus is in attendance and anybody can join the fun. Furthermore, every penny that’s raised through people’s fundraising goes towards our patient care at Christmas time.”
It costs just £35 for the whole family (including the dog) or £15 for adults and £5 for children, which includes Santa suits. Every dasher will also receive a hot drink and mince pie at the finish line with treats for the children and dashing dogs!
So, to follow the Rodrigues’ lead and ensure you are ready for Christmas, sign up now at www.stfrancis.org.uk/santadash - it’s festive fun for everyone, canines, children, mums, dads and grandparents … and all for a good claus!