Peterborough Lion’s Christmas sleigh raises thousands for local causes

Father Christmas and his lions, have raised thousands for local causes with their sleigh display.

By Rosie Boon
Friday, 24th December 2021, 10:53 am
Did you spot Santa out on his festive route?

Peterborough Lions Club and its volunteers have come together once again to spread Christmas cheer across the city with their bright Santa sleigh. 
Father Christmas and his elves, volunteers from the club, travelled across Netherton, Orton Wistow, Stanground and Orton Waterville. 
Merry and bright, the sleigh was covered in lights and even featured Rudolph and another reindeer leading the way through the dark night with his bright red nose.
The Peterborough Lions have upheld this tradition year after year, even adapting the experience to allow for Coronavirus restrictions. The group said this year was ‘an improvement’ on last years as Father Christmas was able to visit the whole city on his route or outside supermarkets throughout December. 
Residents from Stanground hailed the visit as ‘the perfect start to Christmas’ and ‘a brilliant display for the kids.’ 
Mark Rodgers, Lions volunteer said: “We’ve done three mobile floats and three static floats, with one more of each to go. We’ve done statics outside supermarkets fo years and we couldn’t do that without the fantastic support of those supermarkets. 
“We did mobile floats around Peterborough many years ago but for various reasons they stopped. We only restarted four years ago, largely motivated by requests from Stanground residents.

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“This year we’ve raised nearly £2,000 from our Netherton, Orton Wistow and Stanground routes. The response from the public is amazing, right from the first year of restarting Stanground we’ve had people out on the streets waiting for us and it’s only improved since.”
The group have praised support from Cllr Julie Howell as her publicising of the charity fundraiser has had a ‘major impact’ on their collections which have doubled since 2019 in the area. 
For the volunteers the effort is worth all the hard work. 
Mark said: “Honestly, whilst the fundraising is useful and allows us to do great things in the coming year, as a volunteer it’s the happy faces and excitement from kids young and old that makes it worth the effort. Last year in the midst of restrictions we ran one route without knocking on doors to collect, just to bring that Christmas joy, and would have done more had a full lockdown not stopped it.”
The funds are still being counted as colletions from supermarkets are still coming in. All the money raised will be used for projects supported by the Peterborough Lions club across the city. The volunteer group are making sure every penny will be ‘put to good use’. Last year’s donations were used towards patient activity packs at the hospital, costs for a community minibus, Peterborough Rape Crisis Care Group and assisting young people with their Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme.

Lion President, Andrew Wilcox said: “I think that it is great for us to raise funds for good causes but what most Lions really value is the opportunity to put a smile on peoples faces during these difficult times. It was wonderful to see so many smiling faces along our routes this year and to listen to the lovely comments made by people as we passed by.”
The group hope that 2022 will see the return of their annual three day ‘showtime’ for senior citizens and residents in sheltered housing, Coronavirus restrictions permitting.

The Lions have also been fundraising outside supermarkets with Father Christmas over the past month.