Letchworth Round Table Christmas sleigh collection cancelled with fears it won’t return
PUBLISHED: 12:01 03 October 2020
The Letchworth Round Table’s Father Christmas sleigh collection has been cancelled due to COVID-19, and may not return in 2021 unless more volunteers get involved.
The annual event sees ‘elves’ head out to the streets of Letchworth in Santa’s sleigh days before Christmas, collecting donations and delivering much-needed Christmas parcels to vulnerable families in the town.
One of the event organisers Patrick Collier, who has been involved with the Round Table for 30 years, told the Comet: “The Round Table was formed on October 17, 1934, and they were delivering coal during the war and in the 1940s, that’s how it all started.
“Raising money through the Christmas sleigh has been going solidly since the 1950s. Now, we can’t do it this year predominantly because of COVID.
“Also Round Table has been getting old, it’s changing due to time and society – it’s supposed to be for guys over 45 – we rely on the 41 club. “It’s not safe for them and to have all of the kids come out and see the sleigh it wouldn’t be safe.”
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The sleigh tour usually brings in between £4,000 and £5,000 for the Round Table, which goes towards the Christmas parcels for the elderly and for low-income families.
“We’ve got to try and work out what we can do to help – but it will be on a more limited basis,” Patrick continued.
“I don’t know how we can raise the money. We have got some funds that we will use but we haven’t got £5,000 sitting there. We will try to do something for the most needy and try to get together with some of the other groups.
“There’s a lot of people that need help – when we deliver the parcel, we can be the only people they see throughout the Christmas week.
“For some families, the toy vouchers and stocking fillers we give are the only presents they can give their children. We want to be able to do that this year.”
Patrick said each year the team can be out for up to four hours a night, speaking to children, and grandparents who experienced the sleigh when they were children themselves.
“We will be missing out if we don’t get volunteers to help us,” he added. “We couldn’t have done 80 years of helping people in the community of Letchworth without the support of the people in Letchworth.”
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