Northern Ireland news

Newry's Black Santa celebrates birthday by raising funds

Newry Black Santa Mr John Dalzell. Picture by

Newry's Black Santa is to celebrate another birthday standing on the city's oldest shopping centre collecting for charity.

John Dalzell has been collecting money at Christmas time for the Southern Area Hospice for the past 24 years.

His sit-out is taking place at its usual spot in Marcus Square on Hill St where his familiar trailer will be stationed until December 24.

The hospice's regional marketing officer James McCaffrey said John and his dedicated sit-out team were an incredible example of the spirit of giving at Christmas.

"The amount of time and effort they put into this collection for the hospice each year is truly amazing and it is an honour to work alongside them," he said.

"To date they have raised a staggering £1,305,000 for our cause. On behalf of all of the patients and their families and friends who have been touched by our services in the past 25 years of hospice care I would like to sincerely thank John and his team, and everyone who continues to support them."

Fundraising manager Majella Gollogly added: "Without the efforts of John, the hospice would not be able to carry out the services that it does."

Meanwhile, Dean of Belfast, John Mann's traditional Black Santa Sit-out for charities on the steps of St Anne's Cathedral is employing new technology to help raise funds this year, with a credit/debit card facility alongside his traditional barrel.

It is the 39th sit-out, and maintains a tradition established by Dean Sammy Crooks in 1976.

Dean Mann will stand on the steps of St Anne's, come rain, hail or snow, every day until Christmas Eve supported by members of the Cathedral Chapter.

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