IT WAS touch and go for a while — but Santa’s annual tour of Rotherham was a money-spinning success after all.
Rotherham Round Table put extra safety measures in place to ensure its sleigh rides went ahead — and received a warm welcome from residents.
Round Table chairman James Fox revealed this year’s total — supporting charities and good causes across Rotherham — had passed the £6,000 mark, despite routes having to be streamlined and Covid-19 regulations meaning Round Table and Rotherham Continuity members accompanying Santa could not knock on doors as.
“It was touch and go whether this year’s Santa Sleigh would go ahead but after a lot of hard work we put ourselves into a position where we felt we could take Santa out to see our friends across Rotherham as we have done for the last 30-plus years,” he said.
“We had to make a number of changes to how we would normally operate in order to keep everyone safe. This meant the routes were more limited than perhaps in previous years but we tried our best to get to as many folk as possible.
“We were delighted with the response and pleased that everyone listened to our request to maintain social distancing as this was key to us being able to complete the route.
“Thanks to everyone’s generosity we managed to raise around £6,000. Hopefully next Christmas will see us return to some normality so we can do the routes in full.
“I would really like to thank the people of Rotherham and everyone in Round Table for coming together to make the sleigh as successful as possible.”
The sleigh also featured a new addition — a plaque in memory of East Dene youngster Liam Allen (7), who died last year.
Members of Rotherham Sitwell Rotary, who usually accompany Round Table on the sleigh runs, arranged a special visit by Santa to see Liam’s parents and their four children.
Mum Paula said: “It was such an amazing, thoughtful thing to do. Roger [Green, Rotary member] is amazing and I am forever grateful to him and his friends for keeping Liam’s memory alive.
“He said he was going to put something for Liam on the sleigh.
“The next day I got a videocall and he was there with Liam’s name lit up in lights.
“It was heartwarming to know he took the time to think of Liam and include him in something so magical.”
Round Table and Rotary also organised their own “virtual Santa” visits for the first time, to bring in a more cash and give kids the chance to chat to Santa over WhatsApp or Zoom.
q You can still make a donation online at tinyurl.com/RotherhamTableSleigh.