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Bishop's Stortford and Stansted Round Table bringing Santa's Sleigh to town

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A beloved Christmas tradition has been able to go ahead in Bishop's Stortford and Stansted this year, despite the coronavirus crisis.

Community service and social club Bishop's Stortford and Stansted Round Table is taking Santa and his dazzling sleigh on a two-hour tour through town this Friday and Saturday (Dec 18 and 19).

At 4.30pm on Friday, Father Christmas will make his way from Bishop's Park to Stortford Fields and wind up in Cricketfield Lane. On Saturday, starting at the same time, he will tour St Michael's Mead and then the Bishop's Gate estate.

The Stortford and Stansted Round Table brought Father Christmas to Hazel End Care Home in December 2020 (43601917)
The Stortford and Stansted Round Table brought Father Christmas to Hazel End Care Home in December 2020 (43601917)

Round Tabler Phil Street said that the group were willing to take small detours. "We'll be monitoring social media requests," he said. "People might ask 'Can you come up here?' and if we can we always will."

The club have been taking Santa's Sleigh out on weekends in December, starting with a festive procession in Stansted and then Havers, Parsonage and Thorley Park in Stortford. The elderly residents at Hazel End Care Home got to see the big man last weekend when the Round Tablers took him to the St Michael's Hurst venuee.

The Stortford and Stansted branch of Round Table – a social group for young men – was formed in 2016. In December 2017, they organised their first Santa's Sleigh festive spectacle while collecting for charity. It was a big hit so it has become an annual tradition.

This year they weren't sure if it would be able to go ahead, owing to the Covid-19 pandemic. The members tweaked it to make it Covid-safe – they will not be collecting cash from onlookers on the night.

"We thought we'd take the sleigh out without the objective of raising tons of money – just to give people a little moment of joy," Phil said.

Families are invited to wave to Santa from a distance and not to approach his sleigh. "Please respect social distancing and stay on your property where possible," Phil said. "The sleigh won't be stopping so please don't gather or approach Santa. We'll have a live tracker so you can see when he's near."

Anyone wishing to make a charity donation can do so via text or contactless payment. This year, Stortford and Stansted Round Table is raising money for its own charitable trust fund, which supports a variety of local causes and individuals.

Donations can be made by texting BSSRT to 70470. This sends a £2 contribution. To give more, text BSSRT and the desired amount to 70470, for example, BSSRT 5 to 70470 to donate £5.

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