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Hyde Rotarians thank Santa sleigh tour helpers

SO GRATEFUL: The Hyde Rotarians thank those who helped with the successful Santa sleigh tour.

The Rotary Club of Hyde held a special thank you meal at Oaklands Hall to express their gratitude to those who helped their Santa sleigh as he toured the town in the lead-up to Christmas.

The sleigh was out every night over a three-week period, as well as being parked up at local supermarkets on afternoons over a number of weekends, with Santa meeting, greeting and posing for photos with local residents and their children. 

The Rotary Santa managed to visit Tesco in Hattersley, plus Asda and B&M in Hyde. The sleigh also paid a visit to the Gee Cross Community group Christmas event. 

Every time the big man in red was out and about he was accompanied by a small army of volunteer elves, who posted greeting cards through doors on his route. 

Each card had a QR code, with details of how to make a donation to this year's appeal, as well as donations made on the doorstep. 

Hyde Rotary President Barry Carey said the town's Rotary team had moved up a gear, changing two of the routes to accommodate new housing. 

"We love seeing the happy smiling children out on the streets waiting for the big man and donating to our collections," he said. 

"The visits would not be possible without the help we receive and this year I would like to thank The Hyde Police Cadets, 3rd Newton Scouts and Cubs, 2nd Gee Cross Guides and 3rd Gee Cross Scouts, the pony club and Hyde Rangers, and special thanks to Nigel Elton and Darren, also Manchester Blood Bikes who stepped in to pull the sleigh after our tow vehicle broke down. 

"We would also like to thank Nemo Autos and Aidan Gaunt Funerals for sponsoring the Christmas cards. And finally all the people of Hyde for the kind donations of money that will be used this new year to support local charities."

Many of the groups had representatives at the thank you event, who were presented with letters of gratitude by Barry. 

Members of Rotary were also thanked, as well as other volunteers who took part, with the sleigh manned and operated entirely by Rotary volunteers.

Special thanks went to Alan Redfern from Blood Bikes Manchester, who came to the rescue when the usual vehicle to tow the sleigh had mechanical issues the day before the first run. 

Alan and his wife Carol also attended the thank you event at The Oaklands to give a presentation about the work of the Blood Bikers and how their work saves lives and saves money for the NHS. 

The Manchester branch of the national organisation was started by their son Paul Redfern more than 10 years ago and is now one of 30 such organisations that cover the whole of the United Kingdom. 

The Santa's Sleigh Appeal raised £3,464 this year, which along with money raised by Rotary social events and dinners, will be split between several charities. 

You can find details of Rotary Club of Hyde and upcoming events on Facebook and online. 

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