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BY MATT BUNN
Friday, December 14, 2012
WEARING two pairs of jeans, three jumpers and a coat, I was ready.
It all seems like a distant memory these days but I can still remember the sense of excitement when I got the chance to meet Santa.
I could never have imagined back then while I was reeling off my Christmas list to one of the world’s best known and most popular characters, that I would one day be the man behind the beard and the famous red suit.
But that is exactly what happened as I stepped out on the annual Rudolph Run with members of the Ipswich Round Table to collect funds for charity.
The run has thrilled youngsters for more than 40 years and the giant Rudolph, Santa and his helpers still ignite plenty of festive cheer.
With temperatures falling below freezing, I started off my evening as one of the snowmen, knocking on doors and collecting money for Mason’s Magic and Brooke’s Wish to Walk – this year’s chosen charities.
“You just need to knock on the door and say you are with the Round Table raising money for charity,” said Table member Craig Sennett, who showed me the ropes on the first leg of my run.
In the end I didn’t even need to speak – with a smile and a “Merry Christmas” people in the Broke Hall area of Ipswich willingly gave spare change for good causes.
Mr Sennett, a member of the Round Table for four years, added: “They are happy to see you – even the adults will stand outside when you come along.
“It is generally a bit of good cheer but it has a fairly wide ranging positive effect on a lot of people.”
I warmed up quick enough keeping up with the group but my turn as Santa was just around the corner.
“Good luck,” were the words of one of the group members as I prepared to don the famous suit.
And as soon as the red outfit and beard was on everything changed.
If there was any doubt in your mind then I can confirm from personal experience – everybody loves Santa.
As I made my way through the streets of Ipswich on the back of a sleigh with my microphone in hand, everyone wanted a photo, a shout out and a wave.
The smile on people’s faces was enough to show that the magic of Christmas is alive and kicking.
I was told to ‘personalise’ the role – speak to the kids directly – and it was impossible not to notice how much it meant to people in the street.
The original terror that gripped me when I saw what I would have to do as Santa quickly evaporated as I too got caught up in the Christmas spirit.
Getting people into the mood for Christmas is a big part of the run – but raising money is just as essential – and Tuesday’s ride helped to raise more than £700 for good causes.
For more information about the run, please visit www.ipswichroundtable.co.uk
■ Tonight, the Rudolph Run will travel through the Stoke Park area, starting from Belstead Brook at 6.15pm. The run will also take place on Sunday in the Woodbridge Road area – starting from the Royal George at 4.15pm.