ACROSS Hampshire Santas were running for charity yesterday.

In Winchester around 185 dashed down the High Street managing to avoid the market stalls and the packed ranks of festive shoppers at the start of the five-kilometre run around the city centre in aid of Naomi House children’s hospice.

There was also a three-kilometre Santa dash in Lymington yesterday to raise money for Oakhaven Hospice. Their route took them down Queen Katherine Road to Waterford and then back to the High Street via Waterford Lane.

Before the Winchester run Santas gathered at the specially opened O’Neill’s pub on the High Street.
Geoff Hill, 48, was running with his daughter Alicia, aged 11.

Mr Hill, of The Woodlands, Kings Worthy, said: “It is a good fun event for a local charity. This is the third year we have done it.”

Matthew Burnell, 32, from Oxfordshire, was running with friends: “We did one last year in Banbury. It is really good fun just to take part.”

The Winchester route took the Santa down The Weirs, past Winchester College and up to the university before ending back at O’Neills and a well-earned pint of Guinness for a good number.

Naomi House spokesman Keith Wilson said the hospice at Sutton Scotney, which receives little state funding, hopes to raise around £12,000 from the event.

This is the first time it has started in the city centre; last year it was held at the university and in 2010 at Winchester Rugby Club.

Look out for the video on this website soon.