Havering ho ho hospice fundraiser is a day to remember

A sea of red filled the streets as people dressed as Father Christmas joined in a sponsored charity run.

Around 155 children, adults - and even some pet dogs - donned the festive outfits in the 5km Santathon to raise money for St Francis Hospice on Sunday (December 4).

The runners were set on their way from Dagenham and Redbridge Football Club by the Mayor of Barking and Dagenham Cllr Milton McKenzie MBE and it is hoped their efforts have raised around �10,000 for the Havering-atte-Bower based charity.

The money will go towards the charity’s work providing care and support, free of charge, to people affected by cancer, dementia, renal failure and other life-limiting illness.

Among the running Santa’s were teachers and staff from Harold Wood Primary School including headteacher Alison Dowding.

School business manager Lorraine Retigan who ran said: “It was a lovely event, everybody enjoyed it and we were pleased to support a worthwhile cause. The family of one of our teachers has benefited from the care provided by Saint Francis Hospice so we wanted to give something back to the charity.”

Trish Evans and family members Paul and Jamie Howe, from Harold Hill, ran in memory of her father-in-law David, who died in September after battling cancer.

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Trish said: “The Santathon was great fun, I really enjoyed it.”

She added: “When David got ill, everybody from the day hospice was so amazing and then when he became an inpatient it was just the same. The medical team and staff were absolutely unbelievable and that’s why we wanted to give something back.

Members of Dagenham 88 Runners took part including Jacqueline Frewin, who wanted to run last year, but was on holiday so was pleased to join in this year and Lucinda Wilson, from Essex, said: “The Santathon was fantastic and I was really pleased with my time. I wanted to take part in a run and it’s good that I could support St Francis Hospice as it cares for local people who have cancer or other life-limiting illness.”

Event organiser Elizabeth Palfreman said: “Our care touches the lives of many people, but only thanks to the generosity of the community who help raise the �7.2 million the charity required this year to provide its vital care to those who need it.”

If you would like to find out about the work of Saint Francis Hospice or how you can support the charity visit www.sfh.org.uk or call 01708 753319.