CHARITY fundraisers have enlisted the help of Father Christmas as they strive to achieve better financial tidings.

St Teresa’s Hospice has relaunched its popular Letter from Santa service, offering people the opportunity to make Christmas extra magical this year with a personalised letter from the big man himself.

As COVID tries to put the kibosh on Christmas, with social distancing making visits to Santa’s grotto unlikely, hospice staff have been recruited as Santa’s helpers and are arranging personalised letters from him to be delivered to children instead.

Parents need to register online by December 13 at www.darlingtonhospice.org.uk/santa-letter/ and make a donation to the hospice with the suggested amounts of £5 for a personalised letter, or £10 for a letter and a cuddly elf toy straight from Santa’s workshop. Letters will be delivered week commencing Monday, December 14.

Letters are unique to each child and if people have more than one in the family, St Teresa’s Hospice will ensure that they all receive correspondence tailored to them to ensure everyone has a magical moment.

For more information, and to request a letter, visit https://www.darlingtonhospice.org.uk/santa-letter/

Letter from Santa is one of the few activities this year that has managed to be staged

in the face of the COVID-19 crisis.

Since the initiative was launched in 2011 the appeal has raised over £6,000 for St Teresa’s, vital funding as traditional efforts have been decimated by the pandemic.

The Hospice needs to raise £3m a year to provide free day, in-patient and community care for people living with life-limiting illnesses and their families in Darlington, South Durham and North Yorkshire.

An emergency appeal launched in March raised more than £100,000 in a matter of weeks but hospice officials are having to turn to the community again for help in difficult times for all. Donations can be made at www.justgiving.com/campaign/hugtostts.

The annual Santa Run this year is being operated virtually with competitors urged to compete in safe social bubbles, either joining the Elf Amble or the Santa Sprint to raise much-needed sponsorship.

Chief executive of St Teresa’s Hospice Jane Bradshaw said: “We are doing our very best to ensure COVID doesn’t steal Christmas.

“We have been in touch with Father Christmas and he is looking forward to writing to the children. Runners can also get Santa suits and hats to run in and we hope they will photograph themselves taking part and share these on social media, tagging us in. They can run or walk any distance and even take the family pet. After the event they will receive a special medal and we hope they will raise as much money as possible for us in these difficult times.”

Anyone wishing to take part should head to https://www.darlingtonhospice.org.uk/darlington-santa-run/ for more information.