THE charity Santa sleigh which toured Lyme Regis, Uplyme and Charmouth earlier this month has raised £1,810 for local good causes.
This was the nineteenth year that Neville and Sarah Causley and their family organised the Christmas sleigh tour, bringing much joy to local children including in Charmouth, with the village added to the route for the first time this year.
The money raised will this year go towards local organisations that are part of Lyme Regis Community Bingo Association.
These include Lyme Regis Musical Theatre, Lyme Regis Pantomime Society, St Michael’s Primary School PFA, Lyme Regis Football Club, Lyme Regis Christmas Lights Committee, Over 70s Christmas Lunch Committee and Lyme Regis Majorettes.
Father Christmas toured the area in a brand new sleigh this year, thanks to money donated by supporters earlier this year.
Mr Causley commented: “We would like to take this opportunity to say a big thank you to everybody in Lyme Regis, Uplyme, and Charmouth who helped us to raise a massive £1,810 for this years cause, Lyme Regis Community Bingo Association.
“This is the most we have ever collected in the 19 years we have been taking the sleigh out and were blessed with probably the best weather we have ever had, which undoubtedly helped.
“The initial total raised was £1,703, but since then we have had some more donations, including a whip round at the lifeboat crew training night, and this has increased the total to £1,810.
“This money will, this year, go towards the various groups who benefit from the weekly bingo nights that are held at the Woodmead Halls. Due to COVID-19, these groups have been unable to do their usual fundraising this year, so we wanted to help them to get back on their feet in 2021.
“This year has been a year like no other; with countless events being cancelled, we have been more determined than ever to try and bring something positive to the town in these very difficult times.
“This is our nineteenth year of touring the streets of Lyme Regis, and due to the Bridport Lions Club deciding not to tour Charmouth this year, we also added some areas of Charmouth to our usual route so residents would not miss out.
“This year we built a new sleigh; the money for this was kindly donated during the first lockdown by the people who took part in our weekly Causley Cabs Quiz Nights. A crowdfunding page was set up by the Christmas Lights Committee chairman Rob James and this raised almost £700 in three days.
“However, we could not have got out on the road with Santa, without the support of so many special people, all helping in their own way to bring the sleigh together.
“It all started a few months ago with a caravan kindly donated to us by Ken Wilson. During the next few weeks the whole caravan was taken apart, right down to its floor by John Rickard. Next, very kindly, the Collier family allowed us the use of one of their barns, and we were able to build the sleigh in a roomy, socially distanced area.
“The next phase was to build the frame, and retired carpenter Alan Reynolds stepped up, giving up several days to build the whole of the sleigh and roof structure, with just a few pictures for guidance, before we finally painted it all and added the lights and trimmings.”
Mr Causley thanked the following people who have helped with this year’s sleigh: Ken Wilson, Alan Reynolds, John Rickard, Carl Salter; the Collier family; Creative Solutions; Sandra Vernon; Dave Ostler; Sparkbrights; Fowler Plant Hire; Lyme Regis Co-op; Mark Ellis. Also a big thank you to the Lyme Regis Carnival Committee for covering the cost of public liability insurance.
He added: “I must just mention the staff and residents of Bymead House in Charmouth who all dressed up and came outside to see Santa, – even the dog was dressed up!
“This was a huge effort by the owners and all of the staff, and we also thank them for their most generous donation. “Our sleigh has once again brought a smile to faces young and old, with people dancing in the street (socially distanced of course!) and enjoying getting into the Christmas spirit.
“It is always a pleasure to bring the sleigh round, and as ever, this is a family effort and I must say a special thank you to my family, and all of Santa’s elves for their help.”