SANTAS took time out of their busy Christmas preparations to take part in a fun run to raise awareness of heart disease on Sunday (December 15).
Around 100 adults, children and a handful of dogs dressed as Father Christmas ran along Worthing seafront in bracing conditions, for the first ‘Santas by the Sea’ run.
The event, in aid of the British Heart Foundation, was organised with the help of the Paul and Martin Chaplain, whose brother Matt died aged 38 earlier this year, following a sudden cardiac arrest.
Paul, 42, of Shandon Road, Worthing, said it was a fitting way of remembering their brother.
He said: “For me, I got involved for two reasons. Firstly, to raise awareness of heart disease and secondly, in aid of the British Heart Foundation.
“We will never forgot Matt and nothing could ever explain why he had to leave us so early, but getting more involved with British Heart Foundation fundraising has helped to give us some sense of purpose.”
Entrants had the choice of completing a one- or three-mile course, which started at Worthing’s Pavilion Theatre.
They paid £10, which included a full Santa suit, with proceeds going to the charity.
The run was started by Worthing four-year-old Henry Gill, who was born with congenital heart disease.
His father, Paul, 36, said his family had come along in support of the charity.
He explained: “The British Heart Foundation have supported us as a family and they provide a vital link for families. What they do is fantastic.
“Henry was born with congenital heart disease and we discovered this on the first day of his life. He has had several operations on his heart, and it has been a tough ride.
“But he’s doing very well and we wouldn’t change him for the world.”
The charity’s fundraising volunteer manager for West Sussex Kathrine Maynard said she was pleased with the turnout, despite the rainy conditions.
She said: “We were hoping the sun was going to come out but it has been a really good event despite the weather.
“It is really pleasing to see so much community support.
“The event is all about raising awareness of heart disease and getting people out and about and getting some exercise.”
Heart disease is the UK’s biggest killer, causing on average one death every ten minutes in the country.
It is also a growing problem in Worthing.
Kathrine said: “Worthing has a really high level of coronary heart disease, mainly down to its ageing population. There are also high rates of obesity and diabetes. It’s a big issue down here.”
For more information on the subject, visit www.bhf.org.uk