HUNDREDS of Santas - and a handful of celebrity helpers - will be turning out for a charity Santa Dash around Nantwich this Christmas.

The event will be launched on Sunday December 20, when hoards of people will pound the pavements in a sea of red-and-white Father Christmas costumes.

Famous faces attending the star-studded event in aid of Railway Children, include Big Brother winner Sophie Reade, X-factor singer Marie-Clare Scott and Premiership footballer Ryan Shawcross.

After the 2.5km and 5km races, there will be a chance to ice-skate at Nantwich Winter Wonderland situated at Residence Restaurant and Bar on Mill Street.

And a white Christmas is guaranteed with a snow machine on hand, along with mulled wine and mince pies.

The fun starts at 9.30am when runners can begin to collect their Santa suits from the Residence.

A few songs will then be performed in the town centre by X-Factor singer Marie-Clare, before the Mayors of Nantwich and Cheshire East say a few words to motivate the fundraisers.

This will be followed by a pre-race warm-up from Crewe Hall fitness staff.

Spectators and families can ‘get their skates on’ at Residence’s synthetic ice-rink, visit Santa’s grotto or enjoy a spot of face-painting fun.

Both races will start at 10.30am in Nantwich Town Square and runners will complete two or four laps of the route.

On crossing the finish line, model Sophie Reade and footballer Ryan Shawcross will reward all participants with medals and goody bags.

A trophy presentation will then take place at the Residence bar at 12noon.

In the evening, Santa Dashers can return to Nantwich for an after-dash party at the Residence.

There will be free ice-skating between 6pm and 8pm for runners and families.

Registration is £15 for adults and £12.50 for children. This includes a free Santa suit.

Participants are also asked to raise £20 sponsorship for Railway Children.

The charity works with neglected and abandoned street children across the UK, with additional projects in India and Africa.

Singer Marie-Clare Scott said: “It’s such a fabulous cause - as soon as I heard about the street children and their sad stories, I was delighted to sing at the event.

"I hope the Santa Dash will raise lots of money to help save many young lives.

“I’m really excited about singing in front of all the runners at the start line because I’m hoping to spread some festive cheer with my performance!

"I think the atmosphere should be amazing with hundreds of Santas coming together to make this an historic event.”

Sue Togay, town centre manager for Cheshire East Council, said: “We are proud to welcome all the runners – and a few famous faces – to the wonderful town of Nantwich.

“As sponsors of this charity event, we are pleased that so many residents from across Cheshire have chosen to run the Nantwich Santa Dash.

"It’s a very historic town, with over 100 listed buildings and many beautiful timber-clad shops - we hope that everyone will enjoy the sights.”

Cheshire East Councillor Jamie Macrae said: “I am delighted Cheshire East Council is involved in the Santa Run.

"I sincerely hope lots of people get involved. The Railway Children Charity is an outstanding organisation and deserves our support."

To register visit, email or call 01270 757596.