Stamford Kiwanis, Bourne and District Lions and Rutland Lions clubs determined to help Santa ride his sleigh this Christmas
It’s been an unusual year but not even a worldwide pandemic will stop Santa from riding his sleigh this Christmas.
Helped by Stamford Kiwanis, the Bourne and District Lions Club, and Rutland Lions, Santa and his helpers will be carrying out their sleigh ride tours across the area after the lockdown ends on December 2.
And, while the rides may look a little different from years gone by, they have never been more important because each of the fundraising groups behind them has lost income as a result of coronavirus.
Steve Marsh, a trustee of Stamford Kiwanis, estimates they have lost up to £15,000 after major fundraising events, including the bonfire display and the parade at Stamford Festival, had to be called off.
He hopes families who watch Santa’s sleigh route will give generously - although rather than dropping their loose change in a bucket, they will have to go online to do so.
“We are hoping to start from December 6, although we are not going to know what the lockdown will look like and tier 3 will make it difficult,” Steve said.
Collectors will not be knocking on doors and families should wave at Santa and his elves from their windows or doorsteps rather than approach the sleigh.
“I think it’s really important for children that we do it - otherwise the message is that Santa can’t come because of Covid-19 and nothing can stop Santa from visiting,” Steve said.
The full itinerary will be published nearer the time on the Stamford Kiwanis’ Facebook page and at www.stamfordkiwanis.org.uk where people can also make a donation.
“At the moment we have lost all of our income after we had to cancel the events, and donations are down,” said Steve.
Stamford Kiwanis donates to a host of good causes annually and Steve suspects there will be more causes that need help next year, as a result of the pandemic.
As well as the sleigh ride, the group is exploring the possibility of Santa being able to hold question and answer sessions with children via video platform Zoom.
Meanwhile, Bourne Lions, which has been running the sleigh ride for 40 years, are also hoping to start this year’s tour as soon as the lockdown ends and members are exploring putting a screen around the sleigh so that Santa has extra protection.
Children will not be allowed to sit on the sleigh for photos but a letterbox will be on the sleigh for letters to Santa. The letter template can be downloaded here: www.bournelions.org/santas-sleigh.
Each day, Santa’s route will be published on the Bourne Lions’ Facebook page and at www.santabourne.org.
Lion Gordon Lack said: “We are keen to go ahead as this may be the only opportunity, children of all ages have to see Santa as he makes his way around Bourne and the surrounding villages.”
Collectors will receive donations but people are encouraged to give at the website www.justgiving.com/campaign/BourneLionsSleigh2020.
QR codes will also be displayed on the sleigh to help people donate using a phone.
Rutland Lions will be escorting Santa around their usual Oakham and Uppingham routes. Full details will be released early next month, including how donations for local good causes may be made.