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Santa planning to make socially-distanced visits to Inverness neighbourhoods in his special sleigh


By Val Sweeney

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Derek McRae and John Harrison, of Inverness Culloden Rotary Club, prepare the sleigh.
Derek McRae and John Harrison, of Inverness Culloden Rotary Club, prepare the sleigh.

Preparations are under way for Santa to make socially-distanced visits to neighbourhoods across Inverness in his special sleigh.

As well as bringing some festive cheer for youngsters, it also hoped his visits will raise money for various good causes. It is being made possible with the help of members of the Inverness Culloden Rotary Club.

Member Derek McRae said many festive and winter events would not be going ahead in the area due to coronavirus restrictions, such as the switch-on of the Christmas lights in Inverness city centre while fundraising had also been lean for all charities.

"Rotarians are very good at harnessing their various skills in bringing good to the world, so particularly this year we saw an opportunity to both fund raise and bring some cheer to the children – and adults – of Inverness," he said.

Usually, club members raise money when Eden Court Theatre stages its pantomime by doing a collection dressed up as characters. But they had also been toying with the idea of organising a Santa sleigh, which Mr McRae said had not been done in Inverness for several decades.

Fellow Rotarians in Dingwall are not running their annual sleigh this year and have agreed to lend their sleigh. The club has also had talks with Highland Council representatives who have welcomed it – subject to current restrictions.

"We’re currently putting together a programme with times and dates to be confirmed covering many of the residential areas from Balloch in the east to Kinmylies in the west," Mr McRae said

It is hoped do street collections on eight evenings from December 7 to 10 and 14 -17 between 5.30pm and 7.30pm plus it will be based outside Tesco’s in the retail park and Asda and Morrisons supermarkets during the two weekends before Christmas.

He stressed social distancing would mean Santa and the elves would not be able to give out sweets or to do photographs sitting on Santa’s knee but children could be photographed next to the sleigh.

Also, there will be no door knocking collection but it is hoped the public will come out with donations for the elves’ buckets.



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