Ryedale Lions Club have announced a record-breaking year for its Santa Sleigh collections around the towns and villages of North Ryedale.
The big reveal was made live on Radio York with the total raised reaching £12,500 – over £3,000 up on the previous record.
This was despite the issues of COVID, Storm Arwen and cancellation of the switch-on of the Christmas lights in Pickering.
Since putting out an appeal for volunteer collectors and sponsors to help with and support the sleigh in November, Radio York has worked with Ryedale Lions and broadcast from the sleigh on four nights. This included the night they lost Santa in Thornton le Dale and an interesting revelation about where Santa lives, also picked up on BBC TV’s Have I Got News for You.
Some 40 volunteers have helped with collections with St Catherine’s Hospice, SASH, Pickering Beavers and Kirkbymoorside Library sending out teams to work as Lion’s elves.
Sponsors came forward for many of the nights and benefited from publicity on social media and a scrolling display on the sleigh. Feedback has been excellent, summed up by a resident in Nawton who said: “The children have had everything cancelled this year, school parties, the nativity play, carol concerts but Ryedale Lions brought Christmas to the village. Thank you”.
Ryedale Lions President, Frank Hayward, said: “This is a tremendous result and we are so grateful for everyone who has worked with us to raise this sum which will all be donated to local good causes. We will be looking to build on the initiatives introduced this year to ensure Ryedale Lions continues to help Santa visit Ryedale.”
Sleigh coordinator, Ben Hayes, added: “Santa’s Sleigh is a traditional part of Christmas in Ryedale and the reaction in the towns and villages was fantastic. It is also great fun and many of our volunteers are already booked to help next year”.