Popular float goes on tour for charity cash

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Santa making his way around Chippenham on his fundraising tour last year Santa making his way around Chippenham on his fundraising tour last year

The colourful Chippenham Lions Club Christmas float will take to the streets of Chippenham and Corsham over the next three weeks.

The float is loved by many people and the Lions Club hope to match or improve on the more than £10,000 that was raised last year.

The Lions Club has been touring the streets of Chippenham for more than 30 years and as the town has grown so has the fundraising.

While Father Christmas is in his grotto on the float, Lions Club members collect donations as they walk alongside it with Christmas music playing.

Byron Hughes, a former president and now activity chairman of the Lions Club, said: “We have people coming up to the float in the street saying they could remember it when they were kids and now they have kids of their own.

“We hand out sweets and a lot of kids come up to the float and give Christmas cards to Santa on the sleigh.

“It’s well established. We are always very well received. A lot of people ring us up and ask us when we are coming down their street. We are out each night for about two-and-a-half hours.

“The public love it because it is live and on their doorstep. They don’t have to queue up at a grotto in town. It’s instant and is quite a spectacle.”

Money raised will go to a number of local and national charities including St Nicholas School in Chippenham and the Lions’ International measles campaign.

The grotto and decorations are made by the Lions Club, and Lackham College lends a tractor and trailer for it to go on.

There will also be static collections at Sainsbury’s on December 8 and 9 and Morrisons on December 19 and 20.

As in previous years, the Lions will be delivering up to 50 Christmas dinners to elderly people who live on their own, on Christmas Day.

Sleigh times The float will be in the following places from 6pm: December 3, 4 and 5: Corsham December 6: Sheldon and Audley December 7: London Road December 10: Pewsham December 11: Derriards December 12: Monkton Park December 13: Pewsham December 14: Cepen Park North December 17: Queens Crescent December 18: Yewstock December 19: Lord’s Mead December 21: Lowden December 22: Cepen Park South

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