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The Stamford Santa Fun Run at Burghley Park was 'the biggest ever and a great day out'

It was a case of 'On your marks, get set, Ho! Ho! Ho!' at a spectacular event in Burghley Park on Sunday (December 8).

The Stamford Santa Fun Run attracted about 1,530 participants, making it the biggest ever organised in the town.

Wearing bright red suits, pom-pom hats and snow-white beards, the Santas gathered in front of the Wildcats Theatre School stage for an energetic warm up. It was then down to the start line ready to set off on three laps - about 5k - around the park.

Click here to see a full gallery of photos from the event

Despite some large puddles and one particularly muddy stretch, the Santas were treated to glorious winter sunshine on their way round, as well as splendid views of Stamford from the Bottle Lodges side of Burghley Park.

First to finish was Mark Popple from Stamford, who runs with Stamford Striders Running Club. Following hot on his heels were Santas of all ages, some arriving across the line on the shoulders of their parents, and in push chairs.

After their efforts, runners were treated to mulled wine and mince pies provided by Anne Corder Recruitment.

The event was the 13th Santa fun run organised by the Rotary Club of Stamford Burghley, and as well as helping participants get into the Christmas spirit, money raised through entries and sponsorship will support Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice in Peterborough, Anna's Hope which helps children and young people with brain tumours, the mental health charity MindSpace Stamford, and Stamford Foodbank.

It also attracted the support and sponsorship of more than 40 groups and businesses.

Bob Iveson, president of the Rotary Club of Stamford Burghley, said: “Seeing so many happy, smiling faces enjoying themselves in the sunshine in Burghley Park was really amazing.

"The event has become established as a really great day out for all the family in the run-up to Christmas.”

He added that the running of the iconic event is made possible by the generosity of sponsors, led by Peterborough-based finance company BGL Group, and including a host of local businesses.

"The Rotary Club of Stamford Burghley is extremely thankful for their continued support," added Bob.

The event also proved to be a community project with many people volunteering to help the Rotary, which enhanced its success.

Stamford Striders running club marshalled the course and helped assemble and dismantled the marquee, which was provided by Warren Hastings.

Nick Wells, chairman of Stamford Striders, said: "It was an honour for our club to be involved in an event which is so popular and well thought of.

"Our members thoroughly enjoyed working alongside the Rotarians to help set up the course and the marquee, and marshalling the event gave us the opportunity to cheer on all the runners and walkers who helped to raise so much money.

"Next year we will be helping to put on the Santa run again, and we are already looking forward to that immensely."

The Stamford Army Cadet Force and Stamford Air Training Corps helped with the car parking and access to the site, Stamford Litter Pickers tidied up afterwards, and Bluebird Care Service provided volunteers.

The amounts being donated from the event to the Rotary's four charities will be announced in January.

Team Daniels, who raised more than £6,000 for 11-year-old George Connell
Team Daniels, who raised more than £6,000 for 11-year-old George Connell

People also ran for their own causes, including a team of young footballers who raised more than £6,000 in support of 11-year-old George Connell and his family.

George, who plays for the Junior Daniels, has been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer and is being treated at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge.

Kim Glitherow, who organised their fundraising with fellow football mum Lydia Cahill, said: "It's been amazing. We never thought in a million years that the fund would raise that amount.

"We had thought we would raise £100 or so for the family to spend on a treat, but when we set up a fundraising campaign online it escalated massively and lots of people responded, including people we didn't even know.

"We told the boys how much they had raised before they ran and they were over the moon and I think it spurred them on. There were about 20 of them running, as well as a little girl who was only eight."

Anyone wishing to add to the fundraising for George should search online for the GoFundMe page 'Team Daniels'.

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