Calling all budding Santas – a local charity is on the lookout for willing Father Christmases to take on its festive fun run this December.

The Jingle Bell Jog – which is organised by Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice – will see hundreds of big-hearted Santas run 2.5k and 5k to help raise vital funds for the charity.   

Over 700 participants are expected to run, jog or walk the festive route, which takes place at Birmingham Moseley Rugby Club on Sunday 1 December.

To help runners get into the festive spirit, the Hospice will be giving everyone who signs up a free Mr or Mrs Claus suit, and will reward them with a medal and tasty mince pie once they cross the finish line.

There will also be a festive market for both runners and spectators, which will be selling gifts, crafts and one-of-a-kind stocking fillers, and a chance to say hello to the ‘real’ Santa in his grotto.

Last year, the Jingle Bell Jog raised over £20k for the Hospice, enabling it to continue to care for local people who are living with life-limiting illness.

Angela Andrews has been running the Jingle Bell Jog ever since it started six-years-ago. The fun run has quickly become a much-loved festive tradition and last year, she ran with a team of 33 Santas – with the youngest being just under two and the oldest 72-years-old. She runs in memory of several loved ones who have been supported by the Hospice.

Angela said: “Every Christmas, my family and friends really look forward to taking on the Jingle Bell Jog. It’s a great way to get everyone together and it really does kick-start the festive season for us. We always have such a giggle as we put on our Santa suits and it’s hilarious to see so many people dressed up and running round in their white bushy beards.

“Whilst we have lots of fun during the run, it’s also a really special way for our group to celebrate and remember loved ones who are sadly no longer with us. Unfortunately, I’ve had several friends and family who have needed the crucial services of Birmingham St Mary’s, including my amazing brother-in-law Dale.

“Dale was just 50-years-young when he passed away last year. Thankfully, he was able to remain at home throughout his illness due to the wonderful support of Birmingham St Mary’s. The ‘Hospice at Home’ nurses were just incredible – they made sure Dale could spend his final days at home, in peace and in comfort, as well as be there for his family too. Sadly, Dale always used to take part in the Jingle Bell Jog with us, so I know there will be lots of people who will be remembering him every step of the way as they take on the jog.”

Laura Nash, events manager at Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice, added: “The Jingle Bell Jog is a fun and lively event that the whole family can get involved in – but we need big-hearted Santas to get involved and support us.

“It will cost £24,658 to run our vital services this Christmas Day, so we really do rely on people generously fundraising for us. All sponsorship money raised from this event will allow us to continue to provide free care to patients, their families, carers and loved ones, supporting them to live well with life-limiting illness.” 

The Jingle Bell Jog kicks-off the Hospice’s ‘Care at Christmas’ campaign, which is a festive appeal that aims to boost support for the charity leading up to and over the Christmas period. This year, ‘Care at Christmas’ will be extra special as it will help raise much-needed funds during the charity’s 40th anniversary year.

Tickets for the Jingle Bell Jog are on sale now and cost £16 for adults, £12 for children and £2 for children under five-years-old. Family tickets cost £45. To find out more or to book your place, please take a read here