15 November 2018

Sunderland residents are invited to spread seasonal cheer and raise money at the same time at a special event next month (December).

Sunderland Business Improvement District has teamed up with the Bridges to host the Reindeer Dash on Sunday 9 December, a 1k fun run around the shopping centre in aid of the Foundation of Light and the Red Sky Ball.

Runners will get a reindeer nose and antlers to help them get in the festive spirit at the event and will even have the chance to meet the man in red himself after the race.

And Richard McCourt – also known as one half of the comedy duo Dick ‘n’ Dom – will be taking a break from rehearsing his part of Smee in Sunderland Empire’s Peter Pan pantomime to lead a warm up.

Then, after the dash, he will award runners with their very own reindeer medals and everyone who takes part will get a free pass to visit Santa’s Grotto.

Sharon Appleby, head of business operations at Sunderland BID, said: “This is a great addition to what is already turning into a packed programme of activities on offer over the festive period,” she said.

“With the ice rink returning to Keel Square along with new addition Hadrian’s Tipi and all the seasonal offers at businesses all over the city, there’s lots to see and do in Sunderland this year.

Andy Bradley, centre director at the Bridges, hopes to see a big turnout for the event.

“The countdown to Christmas is an exciting time here at the Bridges and the Reindeer Dash is a fantastic way to get in the festive mood,” he said.

“It’s a fun day out that the whole family can get involved in, with even Santa himself taking part.

“Christmas is a great time to give back to the community, so we hope people will come down to the Bridges to take part and help to raise a lot of money for some very important and worthy causes.”

After the dash, runners are invited to stay for carol singing, character appearances and more fundraising activities.

Those taking part need to sign up in advance at www.sunderland-reindeer-dash-2018.eventbrite.com and should arrive at the Bridges between 9am – 9:30am for registration, with the race starting at 9:45am.

Entry costing £3 for children 12 and under and £5 for over 12s and the event is due to end at 11am, when the Bridges – and Santa’s Grotto – will open as usual.

The Foundation of Light aims to improve lives through the power of football, with a number of sports, health, community and education programmes, while the Red Sky Ball is an annual charity event which fundraises for the Children’s Heart Unit Fund at the Freeman Hospital.

Runners are encouraged to download a sponsorship form at www.sunderlandbid.co.uk to further fundraise for the two charities.