Words by Ken Bennett, pictures by Carl Royle
They came… they ran… they jogged… they walked … some even pushed toddlers in prams.
Uppermill High Street was turned into a colourful sea of red and white as a happy tide of 1000 Santas took part in a mammoth fundraising mission.
The merry throng, dressed in full Santa costumes including false beards, were urged on by friends and supporters who shared in the festive fun.
And the delighted organisers from hard working Saddleworth Round Table praised the community for supporting the sell-out event which, along with the Winter Wonderland, raised £6,172 for deserving causes.
Saddleworth Round Table’s event organiser David Wood said: “The response to take part in this year’s Santa Dash has been absolutely amazing.
“Building on our success last year when 500 children and adults ran the 2km or 5km course, this year with 1,000 entries was absolutely fantastic
“We raised more than £3,500 last year for local good causes and charities and we are confident we’ve smashed that record this year.
“Monies raised will be used to host a cracking Christmas party in January for the elderly residents from a number of Oldham care homes.
“We’ve also been able to make donations to the Saddleworth Olympics, Saddleworth Morris Men (for repairs to the Rushcart), Uppermill Cricket Club and Greenfield Beaver Scouts.”
He reserved special praise for Carol Calvert of St John’s ambulance brigade and Oldham Mountain Rescue Team who helped supervise the course.
The action-packed festive family fun day-out launched in Uppermill Square with music and entertainment from Breakfast Show DJ Elliot Eastwick and the team from Revolution 96.2.
And scores of Santas took part in a special warm-up dance before the 2km or 5km fun-run (entrants decide) began.
That was a prelude to Santa’s colourful sleigh which was pulled by Saddleworth Morris Men and Reindeer along the High Street before a Christmas lights switch-on with carol singing from St Chad’s School Choir in front of tree.
The event was wrapped up with a spectacular fireworks display.
Santa Dash 2k winners: child: Alex Armistead, Ethan Clarke. Adults: Lauren Green, Brandon Fletcher.
Santa Dash 5k winners: child: Alice Cunningham, Charlie Middleton. Adults: Rebecca Avanessian, Ian Jackson.