THE sleigh has been brought out of storage, the boots are being dusted off and the elves are getting organised in time for Tamworth’s biggest and most popular Christmas fundraising tradition.
The annual Santa Sleigh Appeal sees Father Christmas visiting thousands of children across the area in a mammoth 20-day tour of Tamworth streets.
From December 1 to December 20, the Rotary Club of Tamworth and Tamworth Round Table will again be joining forces to bring Christmas cheer to all corners of the town.
The jam-packed and meticulously planned itinerary will see the two organisations taking Santa and his sleigh around dozens of Tamworth streets. The sleigh can also be seen at various local stores throughout December.
There’s an extra special new element to this year’s appeal as it will be launched with a live Facebook broadcast on November 30 of the moment Santa arrives in Tamworth for the start of the 2018 appeal. Look out on the Rotary Club of Tamworth Facebook page for more news and to view the broadcast.
The annual appeal is now in its 21styear and has raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for charity in that time.
For its part, the Rotary Club of Tamworth raises around £30,000 a year from the Sleigh Appeal, which is shared between numerous local charities and good causes.
The tour is supported by an army of helpers who brave all weathers to accompany the sleigh each evening to collect donations from the town’s residents; many of whom line the streets in anticipation of Santa’s arrival.
Organisations which supported and benefited from last year’s Sleigh Appeal include Care First, Changes Tamworth, Tamworth Community Together CIC, Dosthill and Two Gates Residents Association, Simon’s Heroes, Tamworth Literary Festival, Tamworth Samaritans, Tamworth Wellbeing and Cancer Support Centre, Tamworth Stroke Patients, Tamworth Community First Responders, St Giles Hospice, Tamworth Air Cadets, Tamworth Explorer Scouts, Speakability, Tamworth Musical Theatre Company, Homestart and many more, including WI groups, schools and sports clubs.
A full contingent of volunteer helpers and beneficiaries has been lined up for 2018, which includes many of last year’s supporters.
People can find out when Santa is coming to their street at https://www.trackingcentre.co.uk/santa/tamworth, where all the Rotary Club of Tamworth sleigh routes are advertised, and at www.tamworthsantatracker.co.uk for the Round Table routes.
Rotarian Graham Barlow, who has helped organise the Sleigh Appeal for many years, said: “It’s almost that time again as we prepare to spread festive cheer by bringing Santa to visit thousands of children across Tamworth. The annual Sleigh Appeal is now a firm Tamworth tradition which we know people really look forward to, as do we. It’s such a magical time out on the sleigh with Santa, which raises thousands of pounds for vital good causes within our community, as well as bringing smiles to the faces of all those children and families. We look forward to seeing you all soon!
“This year we also have the extra special live broadcast of Santa arriving in Tamworth and we’d encourage people to look out for that on our Facebook page.”
Rotary Club of Tamworth president Kyle Raffo added: “We have a lot going on to support the community of Tamworth over the next 12 months and we’re always looking for new members to get involved. I’d encourage anyone who would like to find out more about the sleigh appeal, or Rotary activities in general, to visit our Facebook page or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.”