Thousands raised for disability football at Seagulls Santa Dash

The Seagulls Santa Dash
The Seagulls Santa Dash

Runners dressed in blue and white Santa suits raised a huge £4,100 for Brighton and Hove Albion’s official charity.

Albion in the Community’s (AITC) third annual Seagulls Santa Dash saw more than 150 people run around the American Express Community Stadium to raise money for the charity’s football sessions for local people with a disability.

Warming up for the Santa Dash

Warming up for the Santa Dash

The charity runs 25 regular sessions for people with a disability, which are attended by more than 250 people. AITC also runs 20 teams that compete in local, regional and national leagues.

The charity said a typical regular session costs between £3,000 and £5,000 a year to run, which is why events like the Seagulls Santa Dash are so important to AITC.

And this year’s Seagulls Santa Dash also saw AITC’s disability manager take part wearing a blindfold to raise awareness of the challenges facing some of the people who regularly attend the charity’s inclusive football sessions for people with a visual impairment.

Speaking after completing the course, Mr Brackley, who was guided around the course by long-term AITC supporter Malcolm Thorpe, said: “It was a really interesting experience and I was very lucky to have a good guide. Malcolm was exceptional, particularly as he’d never guided anyone before. He was calm and kept talking throughout, making sure I was ok and telling me which way to go around the course.

“We managed to raise a fantastic total and it was great that so many people took part. As a charity we are incredibly lucky to have so many enthusiastic supporters.”

The event’s organiser Emma Brockhurst said she was delighted with how the dash went – both in terms of the number of people taking part and the fact the total raised was an AITC record.

She said: “This event has grown year-on-year and it was great to have so many children and adults involved.

“It is fantastic that so many supporters of the club and AITC came together to raise funds for Albion in the Community - raising more than we ever have before.

“I would like to thank everyone who came and took part and made the event so special.”

Mr Brackley, who has already raised more than £2,000, can still be sponsored online at: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/paulbrackleysantadash