SCHOOLCHILDREN who took part in Rudolph Runs for St Luke’s Hospice have collectively raised £40,000 towards patient care.

Fundraisers at St Luke’s in Winsford were overwhelmed by the response to the festive fun runs with 43 schools, nurseries and Girl Guide groups signing up and hosting their own Rudolph Run in December.

Angela Slack, community partnerships manager at St Luke’s Hospice, said: “Huge thanks to all the schools, nurseries and groups which organised a Rudolph Run, and to the children and their families who supported it. It is the first time we have held this festive fundraiser and we have been absolutely blown away by the response and support from the community.

“Never in our wildest dreams did we think the Rudolph Runs would raise so much money for our hospice. It has been such a joy to see photos of children taking part and having so much fun, while raising vital funds at the same time.

“More than 7,500 children took part in a Rudolph Run in December, which is just incredible. We were able to visit many of the schools to speak directly to the children about the work of St Luke’s and the difference their sponsorship money could make to patients, and we were so grateful for that opportunity.”

Throughout December, nurseries and schools were invited to host a Rudolph Run in their playground, school hall, field or local park. They were able to set the date and the distance for the children to walk or run, and each child taking part was given a Rudolph red nose and a pair of reindeer antlers to wear, and teachers were provided with Santa suits.

Children were given sponsorship envelopes and were encouraged to ask family and friends for donations.

Cuddington Primary School was one of the schools which supported the festive fundraiser, with pupils and staff raising a fantastic £2,677.69 at their Rudolph Run.

Headteacher Suzanne Mills said: “This is a huge amount of money donated by many members of the Cuddington Primary School community. Each class ran at least a marathon – seven laps each of our new running track - the children loved every moment.”

“I am an incredibly proud Head Teacher to see each child and each staff member demonstrating our three core values of ‘Respect, Collaborate, Aspire.’ We are delighted to support St Luke’s Cheshire Hospice and truly value the sensitive, medical and supportive work this hospice does for family members on a daily basis.”

Grange Community Nursery and Primary School in Winsford also took part, raising £505.45.

Executive Headteacher Annette Williams said: “We were honoured to take part in the ‘Rudolph Run’ supporting the work of St Luke’s Hospice. At Grange Community Nursery and Primary School we have the most supportive community, who fully embraced the event. Many of our families have been affected directly by cancer, one of the cruellest of diseases.

“We were delighted to give a little back to St Luke’s Hospice, which has helped some of our closest loved ones through the most challenging of times.”

“On the day, we welcomed over a hundred excited ‘reindeers’ who skipped, pranced, danced and ran around the school grounds; enjoying a snack afterwards! What a great event to have taken part in and what an amazing amount to have raised. We are just so proud of Team Grange’s efforts towards this!”