Santas take to the streets for lights switch-on

Santas make their way around Lancaster city centre.
Santas make their way around Lancaster city centre.

THE countdown to Christmas got underway on Thursday evening with CancerCare’s annual Lancaster Santa Dash and the city’s official light switch-on.

St Nicholas Arcades centre manager Jerry North said: “This year’s Santa Dash proved to be the highlight of the Christmas Switch-On event and added to a fantastic atmosphere on the night.”

This year’s dash saw a record number of participants with more than 130 dashers kitted out in Father Christmas suits or reindeer antlers taking to the streets of Lancaster.

Jennifer’s Dancers were there to get everyone warmed up and ready to go at the start line.

When the klaxon sounded, the dashers ran, walked, danced and jingled their way around the short city centre route, which took them past many of the shops staying open for the first night of late night Christmas shopping, and were greeted at the finish line with a flurry of fake snow and a free mince pie, compliments of Sainsbury’s Lancaster.

Amongst the runners were 42 Lancaster University students, representing Grizedale college’s Grizedale Gives Back scheme.

Harry Jacks and Anna Sharrock, who co-ordinated the group of students, said: “We loved the run, the atmosphere and the feeling that we, as students, were giving back to the community.”

CancerCare held a competition which gave the child who raised the most sponsorship money the chance to turn on the Lancaster Christmas lights with none other than Santa Claus himself!

The winner was Lily Milce, who ran with her dad, Graeme, and raised an incredible £215 for CancerCare!

Huge thanks must go to and to St Nicholas Arcades for their continued support and to Marketgate shopping centre, who, on the night, presented CancerCare with a donation of £200.

Centre manager Lynn Ison, who also took part in the Santa Dash, said: “Marketgate Shopping Centre is delighted to support Cancer Care – a local charity dedicated to the support of cancer patients, their families, their carers and those bereaved by cancer. 

“We hope our donation helps the Cancer Care team to continue with their tireless support.”

CancerCare also owe thanks to FGH Security staff for acting as route marshals and donating their wages for the event to CancerCare.

Every penny raised from the Lancaster Santa Dash will help to support local people affected by cancer in North Lancashire and South Lakeland. This year’s event has already raised more than £2,000, with sponsorship money still to come in.

CancerCare would like to thank everyone who supported us, especially those who braved the wet weather to join in on the night.

A spokesman said: “It is only through events like the Santa Dash and the generosity of the local community that we serve that CancerCare can continue to provide its services to local people.”