Santas take Southsea by storm for lifeboat crews

PARADE  A sea of Santas make their way along Southsea seafront.  Pictures: Ian Hargreaves  (114347-10)
PARADE A sea of Santas make their way along Southsea seafront. Pictures: Ian Hargreaves (114347-10)
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SANTAS of all shapes and sizes came to town in their hundreds to help raise thousands of pounds for the lifeboat service.

About 1,800 people put on Santa outfits and took part in the fourth annual five kilometre fun run along the Southsea waterfront in aid of the RNLI.

THEY'RE OFF Start of the santa fun run in Southsea.  (114347-8)

THEY'RE OFF Start of the santa fun run in Southsea. (114347-8)

First home was Sandra Bowers, from Salisbury, who ran with her Siberian husky, Kez.

The 37-year-old said: ‘Kez always runs with me, but I’ve given him some antlers, so he’s a huskadeer today.

‘This my third one of these, and I love these races. It’s just a brilliant atmosphere and it’s fantastic to see everyone so happy.’

Organiser Rob Piggott said: ‘Thankfully the rain held off for us and it’s been a great turnout. Each year the numbers have gone up by a few hundred.

‘It’s part of a series of events we put on and last year we raised about £3,500. We’ve beaten that figure already this year and by February we hope to have hit £10,000.’

Little Jesse Gatrell may have been the youngest participant.

The four-month-old was pushed around by mum Sam Francis, 34, alongside dad Gareth Gatrell, 37, from Nelson Avenue in Portsmouth.

Sam said: ‘We thought it would be a nice thing to do as a family, but it was quite hard work, especially with the waves coming over the foreshore.

‘It’s been a lot of fun, with loads of support and people singing Santa Baby at us.’