Ho ho ho! ‘Tis the season to sign up for this year’s Pinner Santa Dash on Sunday 11 December in aid of St Luke’s Hospice.
Next month, 300 people — this writer included — are expected to participate in the annual five kilometre dash dressed as Santa to raise money for St Luke’s, a local charity that provides specialist end of life and palliative care to people in Harrow and Brent.
Santas can either run or walk the course, which starts at Nower Hill High School at 11am after participants have collected their outfits and warmed up. The route goes up to Bridge Street, looping back through Pinner Memorial Park before returning to the High School. Volunteer marshals will be dotted around the course to keep the Santas safe throughout. Participants will be greeted upon their return with hot drinks, mince pies and a special finishers medal.
Among those set to don a beard and red suit for the run is Krupesh Hirani, Assembly Member for Brent and Harrow, alongside activists and councillors from the Harrow Labour Party. “I’m really looking forward to taking part in the Santa Dash for St Luke’s Hospice in my constituency”, Hirani told Harrow Online.
“St Luke’s is a fantastic cause, and a really important asset in our community, supporting those at the end of their lives and their families, giving them real care and dignity.
“I’m looking forward to being one of hundreds of Santa’s in December running around Pinner to raise money for this important charity, who rely on donations. Come down and watch with a mince pie on 11th December, join in the run, and donate to St Luke’s, who do such vital work across Brent and Harrow.”
The 2021 Santa Dash raised an amazing £21,000, which went towards the vital care, kindness and respite St Luke’s gives to people with a life limiting illness in Harrow and Brent. All of St Luke’s Hospice services are offered free of charge but the hospice is only partially funded by the NHS. The care of 6 out of every 10 patients is paid for via fundraising.
Ann Watson’s mother, Theresa, sadly passed away in the Hospice on Christmas Day last year. She told us why Harrow residents should support St Luke’s by taking part: “The care in this place — I will never forget it. The Hospice is just amazing. When you’re in here, you’re in a different world. They take your stresses away.
“Everything you ask for at St Luke’s they do — they listen. Everyone should have dignity at the end of their life, to be helped with their pain, not be scared and have their loved ones around them. My mum received all this at St Luke’s and died at peace.
“They took such care and showed so much compassion. It’s a privilege to die here with the best care, love and kindness from all the staff — no money could ever be enough and I will always be grateful.”
George Nagle, Assistant Headteacher at Nower Hill said: “The Santa Dash is always a fun-filled festive event fuelled by real Christmas spirit! All are welcome. Seeing over three hundred Santas in their splendid red suits and white beards (accompanied by assorted pet dogs wearing tinsel) is a great way to start Christmas celebrations. Do join us. Strolling or gentle walking is allowed, and it is guaranteed that you’ll smile all the way to Pinner Village and back.”
Like the annual Pinner Wheelbarrow Race held to celebrate St George’s Day, the Santa Dash has become an unmissable date in the Pinner calendar, bringing the community together to spread festive cheer. Hundreds of spectators are expected to line the streets of Pinner to cheer on the Santas.
Early Bird registration is just £7 for under 16s and £12 for adults, including bright red Santa suits. So, believe in your elf and prepare to pound the Pinner pavements for a good cause — yule have snow much fun! Book your places at www.stlukes-hospice.org/santadash or phone 020 8382 3112. See you on the start line!