Early as it may seem, here is an update on this year's Lions Club Christmas activities.
Dobbies have now taken over the Marple Garden Centre and I am assured that we should be able to continue with our Christmas activities there, at least for this year. I imagine that the company's senior management will then decide whether or not we will be invited back. Hopefully, our record will speak for itself and things will return to normal.
The last few months haven't been pleasant, there has been a lot of uncertainty and planning for the Club's future has not been easy. Christmas is our busiest time of year when we do most of our fundraising. Ending our relationship with the Garden Centre would have been drastic and unthinkable. I doubt if we could have survived. All being well, we shall be bringing Father Christmas along to host Breakfast and Teatime sessions in the Centre's Restaurant and he will be arriving at the Dragon Miniature Railway to take up residence in his Grotto at 11 a.m. on Saturday, 23rd. November.
With regard to the Santa Dash, there are going to be a few changes, which I hope will make the event easier to manage and more enjoyable for everyone.
You may remember that I apologised to the 2018 Dashers. The fantastic total of 232 was our best ever and we really were victims of our own success (with 60 latecomers being registered in the hour before the Dash started). I have always hoped that everybody would register in advance and have been advised in the past to have a deadline for registrations. However, we have always had latecomers and I have continued to accept registrations straight up to the day of the event.
Unfortunately, as the popularity of the Santa Dash has grown, various problems have been created and became most apparent last year. In trying to anticipate the likely number of Dashers the danger is that too many Santa Suits will be purchased and as a result the Club's finances will suffer. Equally, if fewer Suits are purchased, in the hope that there WILL be enough, there may NOT be enough to satisfy the needs of the latecomers, who will obviously be disappointed. In either event, there will be embarrassment for the Club and a feeling that we have let our supporters down. Last minute registrations can also be a problem. We want to process the registrations as quickly as possible but need to obtain sufficient personal information to enable us to deal with medical emergencies etc.. Any delays caused are often seen as unnecessary and tempers may rise. We can't allow that to happen.
Reluctantly, therefore, we have decided to actively discourage last minute registrations by introducing an On the Day Registration Fee of £15. Anyone registering in advance will still pay the usual £10 and everything else will remain pretty much the same as in previous years. Any extra £5's taken on the day will automatically be treated as a donation to Kidneys for Life.
Hopefully, everyone will understand, collect their Santa Suits in a leisurely fashion and have plenty of time to enjoy Sarah Dalby's Zumba Warm-Up Session.
The first Marple Santa Dash was in 2009 at the time when Kidney Research U.K. was running a campaign entitled "Find a Cure for Martha", Martha being a little girl called Martha Stringer from Marple. In partnership with Kidney Research U.K.'s Carol Bonham, the Lions organised the first Santa Dash - relying heavily on Carol's ideas and Martha's local appeal as our "poster girl".
Over the years, the event became quite popular but 2017 brought about a few changes, which we think have reinvigorated the Santa Dash. We are now working with Kidneys for Life and two very special ladies, Carol and her colleague Victoria Thomson, who have helped us to develop local interest in the event. Whilst they work at the main hospitals in Manchester and Salford, Kidneys for Life supports the renal units in all our local hospitals and we ask that any Santa Dash sponsorship money is raised to support this wonderful charity.
After costs, all the money raised from the registration fees goes into the Lions Club Charity Account and is used to help us give assistance wherever it is required, locally, nationally or internationally.
Last year's event was particularly successful and we thank everyone for their wonderful support. Please help us to repeat that success this year.
Marple Santa Dash is a fun run for all the family starting at 12 noon from Marple Memorial Park. It is organised by Romiley & Marple Lions on behalf of Kidneys for Life. The run finishes at Marple Garden Centre, where you will be greeted with a mince pie and a cup of tea, children will receive a present from Santa and everyone wearing a Santa Suit will get a free ride on the miniature railway. Transport is provided back to the Memorial Park.
The Dash is about 2 miles long, mostly downhill and along footpaths – and don’t worry if you can’t manage a dash! You can run, walk – or even crawl!
After being expertly "prepared" by our specially recruited Personal Trainer, you will leave Memorial Park at 12 noon and make your way to Marple Garden Centre (Dobbies) on Dooley Lane, where your arrival will be heralded by Marple Band playing Christmas Carols. There is no need to worry about getting lost, as marshals will guide you along the route. Just be sure to heed their advice and take care at all times. The roads can be extremely busy and some sections of the pavement are very narrow.
The Registration Fee is £10.00, which covers the cost of your Santa Suit and also helps the Lions to organise this event, whilst continuing their support of worthy causes locally, nationally and internationally. One such worthy cause is Kidneys for Life.
Please note that if you register on the day of the event the fee will be increased to £15 (and the extra £5 treated as a direct donation to Kidneys for Life).
Visit the KFL website to register online: https://kidneysforlife.org/event/santa-dash/
The Scout Hut in Marple Memorial Park will be open from 11am onwards for you to check in and collect your Santa Suit. There will be a changing area but please note that all personal belongings must be taken with you, as security cannot be guaranteed in the Hut.
Limited parking is available in the Memorial Park but there is adequate public parking nearby in Marple. Courtesy transport is being provided by Smiths of Marple for your return from the Garden Centre.
All Dashers, wearing their Santa Suits, will be served with complimentary refreshments at the Garden Centre and will then be entitled to a ride on the Dragon Miniature Railway.
In addition, all Junior (Child) Dashers, wearing their Santa Suits, will receive an early Christmas Present as a special thank you from the Lions.
As a participant in this event we would be extremely grateful if you could raise sponsorship to help Kidneys for Life and you will therefore receive a Kidneys for Life Sponsor Form when you register in advance of the event. This is our eleventh Santa Dash and we hope that it will repeat the success of the ten previous events, whilst again increasing awareness of and support for the campaign. Help achieve the goal and fund kidney research to save lives!
If you or your company would like to sponsor the event please contact the organisers. You can be assured of receiving maximum publicity for your support.
In addition to the Santa Dash, we shall also be bringing Father Christmas to the Dragon Miniature Railway (Marple Garden Centre) at 11am on Saturday, 23rd November and the Railway's Grotto will then be open every week-end up to Christmas and probably during the week immediately before Christmas. Please note that visits to Father Christmas in the Dragon Miniature Railway's Grotto DO NOT NEED TO BE BOOKED IN ADVANCE.
To learn more about Romiley and Marple Lions Club visit their entry in the Community Directory..