FOR more than 40 years, Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer’s journey through Ipswich has brought a smile to to the faces of children and raised thousands of pounds for charity.

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The tradition was started by the Ipswich Round Table and current members of the organisation have carried it on to this day.

This week, former members of the group who helped to start the annual Rudolph run met with the current organisers as they traded stories about its history at the Ipswich and Suffolk Club.

Derek Warren, 71, was one of the members who helped to create Rudolph.

“It was magical and I dare say it still continues,” he said. “The magic is still there which is lovely.

“Children and parents would line the streets – he was so unique. They (current members of the Round Table) have carried on with Rudolph and do a great job – it’s incredibly wonderful and he looks brilliant.”

Dev Mukerji, 76, another member of the organisation behind the annual run, added: “It’s amazing. The idea was to take it round just that year – we never thought it would go on again and again.”

The event has raised money for scores of local charities over the years and this year the funds raised will go towards Mason’s Magic and Brooke’s Wish to Walk.

Simon Cooper, the current chairman of the Round Table, said: “This has been a part of a lot of people’s lives growing up – Ipswich has changed a lot over the years but Rudolph has stayed.

“We are really proud that a lot of businesses around Ipswich have got behind us and raised more money for local charities.”

Rudolph can be seen around the Gainsborough area of Ipswich tonight and will be setting off from the Brewery Tap at 6.15pm.

On Monday, he will travel around the Rivers area, starting from the Margaret Catchpole at 6.15pm.

■ A reunion is currently being organised for the original members of the group. If interested, call Stan Gaskin on 01473 258803.

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