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Stafford Santa's charity Christmas hike

By Staf Newsletter  |  Posted: December 19, 2012

STAFFORD SANTAS ... Dave Marsh, Dave Williams, Arran Williams, Dai Rees, Steve Gruar, Mark Stewart, Paul Lester, John Vincent, Tom Collier and Tim Garner with staff from Birmingham Children's Hospital and the sleigh full of toys.

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A TEAM of Santas pulled a sleigh full of toys and gifts 35 miles from their home town of Stafford to Birmingham Children’s Hospital and raised £6,500 in the process.

The group of 10, nine of whom are fathers themselves, started their festive trek at 3.30am at Asda in Stafford, who supported the expedition with their annual toy appeal, hiking through Penkridge, Cannock and Walsall before arriving at the hospital at 4pm.

Organised Dave Marsh said he was inspired to set the challenge after his 2-year-old son Jack was treated at the hospital’s cancer unit for a rare spinal tumour when he was just a few weeks old and forced to stay at the hospital over the festive period.

“Two years ago, I was a devastated father, desperately wanting to have my baby boy home and well for Christmas Day,” he said. “Birmingham Children’s Hospital made that wish come true and it was the best Christmas present we could ever have wished for.”

Since then Mr Marsh said several of his friends’ children had also been treated at the hospital and the group had united in the plan to give something back.

Arriving at the hospital after the long hike, the Stafford Santas handed out gifts donated to Asda’s toy appeal to children on the wards.

They have also raised more than £6,500 through sponsorship so far, doubling their original target, and are still taking donations at www.justgiving.com/staffordsantas.

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