A SEA of Santas sent Christmas spirit levels rocketing on Blackpool Promenade.
The second annual Santa Dash unleashed 700 festive figures on to The Promenade for a bracing two-mile trek yesterday morning.
The wind whipped the sea into a frenzy and icy rain fell, but there were smiles under fake beards and rosy cheeks all round as hundreds of families joined in the fun.
The event is organised by Trinity Hospice and staff were on hand, complete with Christmas carols, fake snow and hot drinks to welcome returning Santas to Blackpool Sandcastle.
And the day was a resounding success according to Julie Swift, events manager at the Bispham hospice. She said: “We are thrilled so many people braved the awful weather, the atmosphere has been absolutely fantastic.
“This is only our second Santa Dash but we have had 200 more people than last year sign up, we hope it will get bigger every year.
“We’ve had people of all ages take part, those in wheelchairs, people with small children and hundreds of dogs, their support means so much to everybody at Trinity.”
Pedestrians stared in amazement as the Santas streaked the Promenade in a vibrant shade of crimson.
And festive goodwill was running high according to Sarah Linton, 38, from St Annes, who was the first female Santa past the post.
She said: “I was a bit worried about the unbelievably bad weather but I am so happy to have been part of the dash for Trinity.
“It was a fantastic day.”
Gareth Godfrey Brown ran as part of a five-man team from Blackpool FC’s Gold Bonds department. He said: “It was hard work getting back along the Promenade in the wind and rain but the atmosphere has been great and we are happy to show our support.”
Bispham sisters Karen Pearce, 47, and Beverly Brooks also braved the weather. Karen said: “Members of our family have been affected by cancer so we wanted to show our support for Trinity.
“It’s wonderful to see so many people taking part.”
Niamh Wainwright, nine, from Thornton, took part with her whole family and their dog.
She said: “I was a bit scared when I saw the weather this morning but it was fun to all get dressed up.”