Festive fun set for charity Santa Run

Picture taken at the Great Santa Run last year
Picture taken at the Great Santa Run last year

Parents who lost their teenage son to a rare form of meningitis are to host a fancy dress Santa Run on Sunday, December 7.

Music-loving Mark Tanton, 14, of Flore, died three days after contracting Group Y meningitis in September 2010. Since then his parents John and Lesley have raised over £35,000 to fund research in to the disease.

Lesley, 49, who ran the Great North Run last year to mark the third anniversary of Mark’s passing, said: “Big hair, big smile, big heart – we miss Mark terribly.

“Meningitis is like a thunderbolt – it comes out of the blue and changes the lives of those left behind.

“We were a happy family and then, in a few hours, felt complete devastation. Mark was the picture of health, he was a strong, sturdy lad and to think a disease could strike him down as quickly as it did is awful.”

Former science teacher John, 48 whose company On Your Marks Events organises the Santa Run in Mark’s memory as well as other high profile events, said: “It’s always fun and colourful, so we hope everyone dons a red suit to remember Mark. We fundraise in his memory to help Meningitis Now eradicate the disease and raise awareness, so that something positive comes from our loss.”

The five-mile festive fundraiser in aid of Meningitis Now goes from Nether Heyford to Flore and back. It starts at 2pm and there is £100 for the Santa who catches the Christmas pudding.

One-mile and half-mile runs around the village green and children’s races start at 1.30pm. Meningitis Now founder Steve Dayman MBE, will start the race and present prizes.

Entertainment on the day will include warm festive refreshments, live music, a bouncy castle and raffle are in the village hall.