PEOPLE, businesses and community groups are all being asked to dress as Santa Claus to help raise money for a hospice.
St Barnabas House is once again holding a Wear a Santa Suit Day, which this year takes place on Friday, December 13. To take part, people must make a £10 donation to the Durrington-based hospice to be provided with a Santa outfit and fundraising pack.
This is the third year the event has been staged, with participants in 2012 raising more than £12,000, and this time, child-sized Santa suits are also available meaning families, playgroups and schools can get involved.
Richard Bartram, community safety officer at Arun District Council, is taking part for the third time this year having so far raised more than £500.
He said: “It’s all about giving something back. St Barnabas cared dearly for my wife before she passed away so I’m fully behind the Wear a Santa Suit Day and other programmes which help raise money for the charity.
“The most interesting experience for me so far was in 2012 when the Wear a Santa Suit Day coincided with our office Christmas do. This meant I was tenpin bowling in Chichester dressed as Santa.”
Last year’s largest group to take part was Southern Water as 125 employees all donned Santa outfits. This year, staff at Barclays hope to break that record, with members from the Rustington, Littlehampton, Goring and Worthing branches all taking part.
Leanne Williams, branch manager of Barclays in Rustington, said: “St Barnabas is very close to our hearts as we lost a member of staff to cancer and she passed away at the hospice two and a half years ago. We do a walk together in memory of Tara every year and so far we have raised over £10,000.
“After watching the St Barnabas House 40th anniversary film, we realised how important the community were to the charity so we wanted to find a way to give something back and get as many people involved as possible.
“Therefore, we are in the process of trying to get the entire high street to take part and replicating this idea to the areas where our other branches are located in Goring, Worthing and Littlehampton. The aim is to break Southern Water’s record of 125 people last year. We want the streets swarming with Santas.”
Neil Francis, community fundraising manager at St Barnabas House, said: “We can’t thank our supporters enough for throwing themselves into the festive spirit over the past two years and helping raise vital funds for St Barnabas.
“However, we need more people like Richard and Barclays staff to join in, have a bit of fun and dress up as Santa for the day. Our target is to exceed last year’s £12,000 total and also to break Southern Water’s record for the largest group taking part.”
For more details on how to register for the event call 01903 254777 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, the registration form can be downloaded from www.stbarnabas-hospice.org.uk