MORE than 600 Santas swarmed through the streets of Chorley as part of an annual charity walk to raise money for a children’s hospice.
The sun shone as men, women, children and dogs made the 15-mile trek from Chorley Little Theatre, all the way to the top of Rivington Pike, and back again, on Saturday, 13 November.
The festive walk, now in its fifth year, was held to raise money for Derian House Children’s Hospice, which looks after more than 450 children with life-limiting illnesses from across the North West.
Sponsorship money is still flooding in, but the festive fundraiser has already raised £15,000, which will be used to help children and their families make precious memories in the time they have.
Organiser Neil Hailwood, Community Ambassador for Derian House, said: “The annual event continues to get bigger and better and as each year passes I become more and more amazed at the level of support we get from local businesses and volunteers.
“This is a community event which aims to raise awareness of the incredible charity that is Derian House, as well as raising much-needed funds. After missing 2020, it was great to be back this year with all of our Santas. I could not be more proud of the fantastic atmosphere created and the warm feedback from everyone taking part.”
Motorists beeped their horns and passers-by waved from the pavements and filled collection buckets as the sea of Santas worked their way through the town, to the strains of Christmas hits.
There was just time for a spot of lunch at the top of Rivington Pike – and a quick group picture – before the hardy walkers made their way back down hill and to the town centre, arriving as it got dark after around 7 hours walking.
Organiser Neil, a businessman from Chorley, began fundraising for Derian House Children’s Hospice in 2012 in memory of a friend’s son who died at an early age. He promised himself he would do something every year to raise vital funds for the hospice.
Over the years, Neil has walked, cycled, held online events and hosted the Jingle all the Way walk for five years, raising a total of more than £100,000.
Mick Croskery, Fundraising Manager at Derian House Children’s Hospice, said: “Jingle all the Way is one of my very favourite events of the year – it’s always such an awesome day with a brilliant atmosphere.
“Neil is a top guy, he works so hard on ensuring this event is so well organised and always runs like clockwork. Over the years he has raised more than £100,000 to help us care for our children and families at Derian House and we couldn’t be more grateful.”
For anyone wishing to take part in next year’s event, organiser Neil has a message: “Our date is already booked for next year so we will see you all on Saturday, 12 November 2022 for Jingle all the Way VI” he said!
There is still time to sponsor the Santas. Visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/jingleallthewayv