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Dozens of charity supporters pulled on their Santa suits on Saturday 14 December to dash a mile around Cannock town centre – and raise vital funds to help disabled and terminally ill children.

Getting into the Christmas spirit for the fourth annual Newlife Santa Dash was Cannock Chase MP Aidan Burley, who was among the first ten people over the finishing line. He said: “Although I have been involved with the event in an official capacity in previous years, I thought it was about time I put on my running shoes and joined in. It was great fun and the whole event had a real festive feel about it. I think everyone enjoyed taking part in something that will potentially change children’s lives.”

The event was organised by Cannock-based national children’s disability charity Newlife Foundation, which is currently working with eight families across Staffordshire and 15 in the West Midlands, with combined equipment needs totalling £46,201 (Staffordshire £12.415; West Midlands £35,786). Nationally, the figure stands at 154 children needing £353,797 of equipment.

Newlife CEO Sheila Brown, OBE, said: “The past year has seen Newlife’s range of practical services, supporting disabled children and their families, develop and expand to meet a rapidly growing need. We are determined to continue to help as many children as possible and will be encouraging supporters and volunteers to get involved in a range of initiatives in 2014.”

More than 70 people took part in the Newlife Santa Dash, including groups from Midlands Co-operative Society, Cannock police and the town’s Fitness First. They walked, jogged and ran the one-mile course around Cannock town centre.

One of the ‘stars’ of the event was six-year-old Max Phillips, who cut a dash in his brand new wheelchair – he had only taken delivery of the Newlife-funded equipment the previous day.

Max, who has Spina Bifida, was joined by his parents Michelle and Steve, from Nuneaton in Warwickshire. Mum Michelle said: “We knew we were getting a grant for the wheelchair and it is important for Max to understand that it’s not just about taking but saying ‘thank you’ too.” They expect to have raised around £150.

Michelle added: “Getting this wheelchair is massive for Max. He will be independent for the first time in his life. It will be used every day – at home, at school, for trips out. It will enable him to be involved in every aspect of life.”

Newlife Fundraising Manager Nora Smith said: “We want to thank everyone who took part in this year’s Newlife Santa Dash, helping to make the event such a success. All the money raised through the event will help support local children.”

A big thank you goes out to:

Doris Grice, Cannock District Council Chairman.

Aidan Burley, Cannock Chase MP.

Alastair Payne, Bank Bar and Lounge.

Andy Richardson, Journalist.

Rachel Griffin, Drum Core Band.

Mike Winson, Photographer.

Neil Maxwell, Photographer.

Tom Walsh, Cannock Council’s Parks and Open Spaces Manager.

Peter Staunton, Town Crier.

Sarah Evans, Cannock Chase Licensing.

Joan Mutch, Cannock Chase Leisure Centre.

Ruth Hodgetts and team, Fitness First.

Wendy Jones, St John Ambulance.

Cannock Police Station.

Lichfield Co-op Business Support Centre.

One Stop.


Pictured: Santa Dashers gather for a photo finish . . .

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