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In pictures: Hundreds take part in Alexander Devine Santa Dash

Hundreds of Father Christmases were seen weaving their way through Windsor yesterday (Sunday)  to raise thousands of pounds for Alexander Devine Children’s Hospice Service.

It was part of the charity’s annual Santa Dash, in which groups pay to register and then embark on the 5km course dressed as the bearded gift-giver.

About 400 people signed up, the most the event has ever had, and raised more than £11,000, with donations from anyone sponsoring the entrants still being accepted.

The charity, which was set up in memory of eight-year-old Alexander Devine after he died of a rare brain tumour, is building Berkshire’s first children’s hospice in Woodlands Park.

Julia Philipson, Alexander Devine’s community fundraiser, said: “It’s all towards the services that we already provide across Berkshire, and we now support over 100 children with life-changing or life-threatening conditions in their own homes.”

Participants could travel at any speed they were comfortable with after setting off from the top of the Long Walk.

They then headed down to the A308 and back again, before setting off around Windsor Castle and making their way along St Alban’s Street, Castle Hill and into the town shopping centres before travelling up Peascod Street.

It is the fifth year the dash has been put on.

“It’s local. They (participants) get the fact it is a Windsor Santa Dash, in memory of a Windsor boy (Alexander Devine),” Julia said.

“It is a local charity.”

The sight of hundreds of people dressed as the North Pole’s most famous resident bemused early morning Christmas shoppers.

Julia said: “It’s hysterical.

“I think it surprises local residents and it stops Windsor tourists in their tracks.

“They are reaching for their cameras.”

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