Festive fun weekend is a hit for St Catherine’s Hospice

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Crowds of people flocked to the St Catherine’s Hospice Christmas Festival to enjoy a fun-packed festive weekend.

The two-day event on Saturday and Sunday welcomed hundreds of people who braved the cold weather to show their support and enjoy a host of attractions.

St Catherine's Hospice Santa dash

St Catherine's Hospice Santa dash

They included a Santa’s grotto set up in the hospice’s summer house, as well as an ice rink on the front lawn. Fairground rides, a craft fair, gift stalls and a host of festive entertainment all added to the winter wonderland atmosphere.

On Saturday, special guests included Coronation Street star Tisha Merry – a regular St Catherine’s supporter after her granddad was cared for at the hospice earlier this year – the Mayor and Mayoress of Preston, Coun Nick Pomfret and wife Barbara, and Jill Atherton, who will represent the city at the Mrs Galaxy beauty pageant for married women next year.

Sunday’s event also featured the charity’s annual Santa Dash and Rudolph Rumble, which saw people dress up in red suits, hats and beards or red noses and antlers to complete a sponsored jog around Lostock Hall.

The Mayor of South Ribble, Coun Graham Walton, set the Santas on their way and handed out medals on their return.

Geoff and Jo Naylor had travelled an incredible 250 miles from Bognor Regis to take part in the Santa Dash and Rudolph Rumble with their children Daisy, three, Stanley, six, and Frank, nine.

They took part last year soon after Geoff’s mum Sheila was cared for at St Catherine’s Hospice and enjoyed themselves so much they wanted to return – despite the long journey.

Cheering them on was Sheila’s husband Fran, from Lostock Hall.

He said: “It’s lovely to come as a family and do this. St Catherine’s were fantastic last year when we needed them. It was a little emotional coming back, but it’s a fun, happy event and it’s great to see them all dressed up and doing something to show their support.”

Vickie Morris, from Leyland, was there taking part with a group of 15 friends and family – including Judith Treaddell, who donned a blue suit instead of a red.

“I just prefer the colour blue!” she said.

Vickie wanted to get a gang involved to raise money for the hospice because her grandmother is currently being cared for on the in-patient unit at St Catherine’s.

“They do such good work and are so supportive of us all,” she said.

“I wanted to get as many people together as possible to raise as much money as possible for such an important cause.”

Lorraine Charlesworth, director of income generation at St Catherine’s Hospice, said: “We were delighted to welcome so many families along to our third Christmas Festival. We hope it’s got everyone feeling in the festive spirit in the run up to Christmas.”