A RECORD number of runners on Skipton’s pre-Christmas Santa Fun Run helped to raise many thousands of pounds for charity.

Around 1,850 runners pounded the course at the event, which was organised by the Skipton Craven Rotary Group.

And last week Rotary members, their friends and the representatives of local groups and organisations, gathered for a celebratory evening and meal at Skipton Golf Club, where cheques were presented to various groups and organisations.

Rotary’s Bob Marchant told members and guests that in the nine years that the Santa Run has taken place there have been a total of 11,650 entrants, and the total amount raised so far was £254,992 - which he said was “a tremendous amount of which the Rotary Club and the town should be very proud.”

The Santa Run was also notable as it featured the wedding of participants Alex Griffin and Wendy Lawson, of Skipton Chamber of Commerce, who tied the knot on the run itself.

This unique event ensured that television news cameras were present on the day and Skipton received nationwide coverage.

More than £39,000 was raised by the 2018 run, either directly from entry fees or by Santas being sponsored for their own groups and organisations.

The main beneficiaries were Manorlands Hospice, who received a cheque for £11,000, and Yorkshire Cancer Research, who received £4,500.

Rotary President John Exley presented cheques to Molly Ralphson of Manorlands and Alex Green of Yorkshire Cancer Research.

He also made financial awards to Carers Resource of £500, Principle Trust of £500, Dementia Friends of £250, Petal Childhood Cancer Research, of £250 and Say Aphasia of £250 - the latter is a charity which supports those who have a communication disorder following a stroke.

Other recipients were Skipton Brass Band and The Loud Minority Samba Band from Embsay, who were also awarded £150 each to help with their projects within the community - in recognition of the fact that they played to the Santas to speed them on their way!

The 2019 event on will be held on November 24, which organisers hope will attract a record-breaking entry of more than 2,000 runners.

It will again start and finish in Skipton High Street, following positive feedback from last year’s race

After last year’s run a Rotary spokesman said: “We would like to give a huge thank you to all participants, spectators, sponsors and supporters that made last year’s event a massive success yet again.

“We will be working closely with Skipton Town Council and Skipton BID to make the 2019 Fun Run an even better experience.”