Running club go ‘turkey’ to boost the funds of a Sunderland hospice

The turkey runners.
The turkey runners.

Festive shoppers in Sunderland were given more than they bargained for, yesterday, as they hunted for the perfect Christmas gift.

Prowling the lanes of the city’s Bridges shopping centre were more than 60 giant turkeys, all keen to gobble up people’s loose change for charity.

This event gives us the chance to run as an entire club.

Harry Harrison

The visit by the distinctive fowl is all part of an annual Turkey Run fundraising drive by The Sunderland Strollers Running Club in aid of St Benedict’s Hospice.

The runners – led by UK Athletics qualified Running Leaders – made their way from Ashbrooke Sports Club, dressed in their turkey suits, to The Bridges.

While some made their way around the centre to collect spare change, others serenaded shoppers with a spot of festive singing.

Last year, the group raised more than £3,000 for various charities and say they are on course to beat that total this year.

Club Secretary Harry Harrison said: “This is the second year we have organised the run after taking over the event on behalf of St Benedicts.

“We have runners from 17 to 70 years old taking part and everyone loves it.

“It has been a great the response, this year, not just from our club with runners taking part but also the public.

“Normally, the week before Christmas we go out for a run through town dressed as Santa but that is more 
for fun rather than for charity.

“This gives us the chance to run as an entire club, as we usually run in smaller groups, and raise money for charity at the same time.”

The fundraising venture is just one of a number of events runners from the Sunderland Strollers have taken part in, throughout 2015.

It is estimated club members have raised in the region of £20,000 for a variety of charities during the year.

Earlier this year, the club took part in a Doorstep Marathon where almost 100 runners (not all members of the club) took part in either a half marathon or full marathon along the North East coast raising £2,000 for the Phoenix Cancer Unit at the Sunderland Royal.