Santa Dash runners raise more than £15,000 for Alder Hey

Alder Hey Children’s Charity has publicly thanked fundraising Santas who recently dashed through the streets of Liverpool to raise much-needed funds.

Santas pulled on their festive running attire in December to take part and fundraise for Alder Hey, official event charity partner for the Appreciate Group Liverpool Santa Dash. Collectively they raised more than £15,000 towards the specialist hospital’s new £3m Surgical Neonatal Appeal.

Funds were also raised through a Santa Dash day bucket collection and merchandise stall. Charity mascot Oli the elephant also proved a hit on the day by starting the 1K Mini Dash.

The fundraisers were part of a 5,000-strong sea of red, blue and mini Santas enjoying the return of the 18th annual festive spectacular, after it was staged virtually in 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Alder Hey’s Surgical Neonatal Appeal was launched last Autumn and is being championed by Liverpool Football Club legend Jamie Carragher, who spent the first six weeks of his own life in Alder Hey’s neonatal ward.

The football pundit was invited along on Santa Dash day to join Alder Hey patient and guest of honour, four-year-old Betty from Warrington, who was given the all-important job of officially starting the fun run. Betty and Jamie were joined on stage by the Lord Mayor Of Liverpool Councillor Mary Rasmussen, and In Demand Radio DJ Lee Butler.

Thought to be the UK’s biggest festive 5K fun run, the Appreciate Group Liverpool Santa Dash attracted walkers, joggers, runners, wheelchair participants, tiny Santas in prams, and even four-legged furry Santas.

Alder Hey’s Surgical Neonatal Appeal will help develop a state-of-the-art unit for newborn babies and their families. The new Surgical NICU is a joint project between Alder Hey and Liverpool Women’s NHS Foundation Trust as the Liverpool Neonatal Partnership. It will offer 22 neonatal cots for Liverpool, including 18 individual family rooms where parents can remain alongside their poorly newborns receiving expert care.

Adam Dixon, Community Fundraiser for Alder Hey Children’s Charity, commented, “The Appreciate Group Liverpool Santa Dash 2021 was the perfect way to end a busy year for Alder Hey Children’s Charity. To see so many Santas running for Alder Hey was absolutely amazing and the amount raised will go directly towards our Surgical Neonatal Appeal. Thank you to everyone who supported us by either fundraising or donating, and well done to special guests Betty and family and Jamie Carragher who started the Santa Dash in festive style.”

Special guest Betty was born premature at just 23 weeks and spent the first 13 months of her life at Alder Hey. She is still receiving care from Alder Hey.

Betty’s Mum Karen said, “We absolutely loved being part of the Liverpool Santa Dash – what a fantastic atmosphere! Betty loved starting the run and watching the Santas dash through the city centre. We were incredibly proud to be part of the day and represent Alder Hey as a family, while at the same time raise money for the hospital that cares for Betty.”

The 2021 event was also supported by headline partner Liverpool-based Appreciate Group; media partner In Demand Radio; pop-up shop hosts St Johns Shopping Centre; and Arriva North West who offered participants free bus travel on Santa Dash day.

The Liverpool Santa Dash was created by BTR Race Director Alan Rothwell and was first staged in 2004. A separate 1K Mini Dash for under 12s was added in 2007, and blue Santa suits were introduced in 2010.

BTR Liverpool is the leading independent organisation for creating, managing, and delivering headline race events across Liverpool City Region.

BTR Race Director Alan Rothwell explained, “We’re thrilled that our official event charity partner, Alder Hey Children’s Charity, has received a massive £15,000 boost raised by kind-hearted Santas. When we started the Liverpool Santa Dash in 2004, we knew that charities would use the event as a platform to raise their profile and fundraise – and we’re incredibly proud that over the years hundreds of charities have raised thousands of pounds by having lots of festive fun, and will continue to do so for many years to come.”

This year’s Liverpool Santa Dash takes place on Sunday 4 December 2022 entries are open. The entry fee covers all costs to organise and deliver the event including road closures, safety measures, Santa suits, medals, goody bags, and entertainment.

Image credit: Paul Francis Cooper

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