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Black Santa charity appeal in Belfast raises highest total in 40-year history

The Dean of Belfast John Mann during this year's annual Christmas sit out at St Anne's cathedral. Picture by Hugh Russell

THE annual Black Santa charity appeal has raised almost £200,000 - the largest amount ever collected in its 40-year sit-out.

The Dean of St Anne's Cathedral in Belfast, John Mann said the charities to benefit would be decided in the new year.

The Black Santa tradition at St Anne's has been going since 1976 when it was started by the then Dean Sammy Crooks.

Since then, successive deans have kept the tradition going raising millions for charitable causes.

This is the sixth year that Dean John Mann has taken part in the sit-out.

He said he was overwhelmed by the response this year.

"This is the best year so far, in terms of the amount we have collected," he said.

"In January we figure out which charity is getting what.

"Mostly they are local community based charities. About 15 per cent of the money also goes abroad for humanitarian work."

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