• York Rotary

The Christmas Spirit of Santa Paws

Updated: Dec 22, 2021

Diana reports...


"Collaboration, Community and Friendship"

On December 5th York Rotary brought together The Wilberforce Trust and York & Harrogate District RSPCA to run a jointly organised fundraiser - Santa Paws.

87 people and nearly as many dogs walked the 3.3k running track of the Knavesmire with many dogs decked out like Christmas Trees!


The collaborations did not end there. Andrew Wordie from Rotary York Ainsty joined us with Ainsty’s Santa Sleigh in which our very own Father Christmas, aka John Lacy, ho-ho-hoed throughout the event.

We received sponsorship from The Shepherd

John Lacy a.k.a. Santa!

Group and Vet Partners plus goods-in-kind being donated by Morrisons and several of our own members. Prizes were generously donated by Christina Gabbitas (children’s books) and K9 Keiki Bakes of York (doggie hamper).



Although the day dawned cold and blustery, this did not detract from the festive atmosphere – even when the tents suddenly blew over in an early gust of wind! They were soon righted and registration continued.


York Mix gave us huge radio and social media coverage and generously sent reporter Laura Castle, together with her dog Digby, to compere the walk and provide music throughout.



At the end of the walk William Wilberforce, 4 x great grandson of the William Wilberforce, together with Christina Gabbitas, the award-winning children’s author, judged the Best Dressed Dog competition. In a hotly fought contest they judged that Bear the Whippet (pictured) carried the day.





The whole event was rounded off with hot chocolate, mulled wine and mince pies.




A total of £722 was raised for the three charities which will support our community in a range of different ways

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