Express & Star

Hospice gets a festive boost as 600 take on Stourbridge Santa jog

It was a morning of exercise, fun and channelling your inner St Nicholas as an annual fundraising run took place.

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The runners get underway in the Santa Jog

The grounds of Mary Stevens Park in Stourbridge were full of red costumes and white beards as the annual Mary Stevens Hospice Santa Jog took place on Sunday.

Despite rainy conditions and patches of ice from the previous night's weather, more than 600 people came dressed as Santa Claus to take part in the five-kilometre event, which the hospice said takes place come rain or shine since the first event in 2008.

Kinver rotary club members Amanda Bowen and Neil Brazier get festive for the jog

There were families, groups of friends and plenty of people with dogs wearing jumpers and reindeer antlers taking part in the event, which started with a stretch and warm-up session with members of the hospice, as well as festive mascot Santa Paws, and musical support from Bhangra Smash Up.

Alongside the run was a festive market with a range of wares to buy and a Santa's grotto for young people to meet Santa.

Plenty of couples were among the runners

Mary Stevens Hospice events fundraiser James Totney spoke about the event and what made it so special, as well as the reception from those taking part.

He said: "It's been a great day and we've had a fantastic turnout of more than 600 people running around the park and raising vital funds for the hospice.

"We've had some incredible feedback from people as well who, despite the wet weather and icy conditions in places, had really enjoyed themselves in the run, as well as the festive market and Santa's grotto.

Enza Montana, Ben and Becky Humphries, Niall Matcalf and Helen Jones get limber before the jog

"I think what makes it special is that it has just become one of our annual events and people look forward to it, put it in their calendar and they come back year after year to support the hospice and get into the festive spirit."

Mr Totney said he hadn't taken part in the jog himself, but said a number of nurses and staff from the hospice had joined in and run the distance.

Karen Roberts and Scrabble were among plenty of pets and pet owners taking on the course

He also said that the event was always a success thanks to the generosity and support of the local community and offered thanks to them for their continued support.

He said: "I didn't run myself, but I did send them off and there were hospice nurses and other staff members taking part, so we all played a part in it.

The Bhangra Smash Up provide a festive beat

"The support we get is incredible and we can't thank our local community and supporters enough as they really do come out in troops to support us, so we are always grateful.

"Without their support, we wouldn't be able to provide the services that we do free of charge and we're already planning next year's event."

More than 600 people took part in the event
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