In the next two weeks, more than 6,000 students at primary and secondary schools in the area will be dressing up as Father Christmas and running in a COVID-secure relay challenge to raise funds for Katharine House Hospice.

The Santa Fun Run is a popular annual fundraiser for the hospice, but with the onset of COVID-19 the organisers have had to get creative this year. The result? A virtual event for members of the public plus the Schools Santa Relay Challenge, which has really grabbed the imagination of primary and secondary school teachers and resulted in more than 6,000 students signing up for the challenge. More than 18 schools (including 900 students at Chipping Norton School) are involved, and many are also including the staff in their challenge.

Antoinette Stephens at Harriers Banbury Academy said: “Katharine House is a charity that is close to our hearts and we are both delighted and excited to be taking part in their Schools Santa Relay. We are keen to help raise some much-needed funds for this fantastic local service, in these challenging times. We can't wait to see all the children wearing their Santa hats while running and having some fun … they will love it!”

A teacher from Syresham Primary School told the hospice that the school has a very personal connection with the hospice, which is why she was keen to get everyone involved at her school - and this will include 16 nursery-aged children. Another teacher, from Wychwood Primary School, said that she thought it was just what everyone needed this year - a brilliant way of getting everyone together, but keeping them apart. 

Cherida Plumb, Katharine House’s Community & Events Fundraising Manager, said: “We’re blown away with the way the Schools Santa Relay Challenge has taken off. There has been a huge amount of enthusiasm and support from the schools in the area both for the challenge and for the hospice. It’s all been very touching - but also how wonderful to think of 6,000 Santas running in relay groups. Good luck to everyone!”

As well as the schools challenge, we're encouraging individual members of the public to get running, jogging or walking for 30 minutes wherever they like on Sunday 13 December - dressed up as Santa, of course! The suits all ready and waiting (sign up by Monday 7 December to make sure you get one in time)! You can do it either individually or create your own relay challenge with friends and family.

Sign up now!

Katharine House Hospice