In the seasonal film Love Actually Billy Mack (Bill Nighy) sings ‘Christmas is All Around’.  And now we are finally in December, there is really no getting away from it, as the days count down to the Winter Solstice and Christmas Day itself.

Along with the steady march of shoppers frantically scouring high road shops and turkey-laden, bauble- and banner-festooned supermarkets, with Christmas hits blaring from morning till night, seeking that elusive special gift or novel tasty treat for the big day, there is another aspect to the festive season that is less ubiquitous and more magical, in my opinion.

Living on Long Lane, in Attenborough, I was surprised one evening several years ago to hear the faint sounds of jingling bells and music outside. Through my curtains, I could make out coloured lights passing by. I was intrigued, so I went to the door, to be met by the sounds, sights and delights of the Santa Sleigh. The unexpectedness of it added to the allure. The sense of wonder has stayed with me every year since.

 

I knew nothing about its existence or purpose and simply stood on my doorstep marvelling at the sheer surprising joy and wonder of the enchanting parade. Since then, of course, I found out that it is an annual fundraising event presented to us by Beeston Round Table.

The Round Table is a social, networking and fundraising group for men under 45. The Santa Sleigh and its annual schedule hold a very proud place in the calendar of Beeston’s group. In fact this year, they are thrilled to be going out in an all-singing, all-dancing – well, ever more beautifully lit up – new sleigh that the members have put a lot of love and effort into creating.

I saw it on Sunday at The Garage, during daylight hours, where much of its glamour and style was not yet in evidence. Its true charm will be visible in the dark, when the newly lit reindeer and lasers will become visible. And I was very much looking forward to seeing it on Wednesday.

And here it is!

 

As much as the men enjoy the nightly runs and the chance to interact and receive support from local people who come out of their houses to wave and cheer, the main focus of the whole performance is to raise funds for local charities and individuals. The group decides which causes to donate to based on the simple criterion that they support the community. This gives them a wide variety of causes to support. For example, it could be a local guides or scouts group, or a piece of much-needed equipment for someone with a disability.

In  the past, they have accepted coins and notes in their rounds. But with fewer people carrying cash now,they are trying something new. They have a card reader as well as the buckets; and a justgiving page. See below for link. A few clicks is all it takes!

Last year, they managed to raise around £5,500. They would love to top that figure this year.

Each weekday night they set off around 18:30hrs, while the Sunday route through Bramcote and Stapleford starts at 15:00hrs. You can follow the route online, with the Glympse tracker, which goes live shortly before they depart: https://glympse.com/!BRTSanta

The itinerary of the Sleigh can be found here:

Monday

4 December

Chilwell & Attenborough

Tuesday

5 December

Stapleford

Wednesday

6 December

Attenborough Village

Thursday

7 December

Chilwell

Sunday

10 December

Bramcote & Stapleford – starts at 3:00pm

Monday

11 December

Beeston Hillside

Tuesday

12 December

Chilwell Meadows

Thursday

14 December

Beeston Rylands

Sunday

17 December

The Star Inn, Beeston

Monday

18 December

Toton North

Tuesday

19 December

Toton South

Wednesday

20 December

Bramcote Hills

For full details of each route, with access to a map for each one, follow this link: https://beestonroundtable.notion.site/beestonroundtable/Routes-Streets-5ff5d581408e4619ba9be84d78b73935

If you’d like more information about Beeston Round Table, here is the link to their Facebook page:

And if you’d like to donate from the comfort of your own sofa, you can go to: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/beestonsanta, but I would urge you to nip out for just a few moments, to appreciate the magic.

JB