More than 300 Santas from across West Cornwall were put on their marks, told to get set and then ‘ho ho ho’ in aid of charity on Sunday.

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The runway at RNAS Culdrose turned into a running track for the 320 men, women and children who donned Santa suits to run, jog or walk the length of the airstrip and back for Children’s Hospice South West.

The CuldRoses military wives choir and the Royal Naval Volunteer Band got the Christmas party started as the Santas began arriving, before the team from Farmhouse Studio orchestrated and filmed a mass Santa karaoke to “All I Want for Christmas is You”.

It was then over to Helen Tite of The Core in Falmouth, who led the Santas in a fun festive warm up before they lined up at the end of the runway ready for takeoff.

They took off in high spirits and crossed the finish line rather more rosy-cheeked but full of festive jolliness.

All came away with an extra warm glow, in the knowledge that they had pledged over £5,000 in sponsorship to help children whose lives are short.

All the Santas completed the 2km route at their own pace, with aptly named local teenager Matt Quick sprinting home first in less than ten minutes.

Other highlights included a three-legged Santa, made up of two women, receiving a fireman’s lift to help them over the finish line after a long, hard slog up and down the full length of the runway.

Mary Murfin, local community fundraiser for the charity’s Little Harbour children’s hospice in St Austell – which celebrates its first year anniversary this month – was delighted with how the first ever Santas on the Run in Helston went.

She said: “It was a seasonably cold day but that didn’t stop the hundreds of Santas wrapping up warm in their hats and beards and having a jolly old time. The atmosphere was terrific.

“Our thanks to all the Santas for making it such a marvellous and merry event, and pledging such a fantastic amount in sponsorship.”

The charity has thanked the volunteers and in particular RNAS Culdrose for hosting the run, with staff from Serco supporting it.

The CuldRoses, Farmhouse Studios, Helen Tite and her team from The Core, the ladies of the Culdrose public viewing enclosure café, the Royal Naval Volunteer Band and St John Ambulance (Helston Division) were also thanked for helping to make the event such a success.