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John Dalzell (80) to 'sit-out' for hospice for his 30th year

John Dalzell will next week begin his 30th sit-out for the Southern Area Hospice

AS Newry's 'Black Santa' prepares to begin his 30th sit-out for charity ahead of his 80th birthday, he is asking people to "keep those figures in mind" when donating.

John Dalzell will next week park up his trailer in the city and begin his annual sit-out for charity.

For the past three decades, he has dedicated one week in December to collecting funds for Southern Area Hospice, raising a total of £1.85million.

Not only does this year mark his 30th sit-out, but it also coincides with his 80th birthday on December 21.

"Last year we raised an incredible £141,000, which I knew the hospice really needed to look after the patients and that's all I need to motivate me to keep going until I really can't, and thankfully that's not this year," he said.

"We have been raising money together for the hospice for so long and I really want to thank you all.

"I turn 80 this year on my 30th year sitting out and would kindly ask all businesses where possible to keep those figures in mind - whether they donate £30 or £80 - it would mean a lot.

"However, every donation no matter how small, goes a long way."

The sit-out takes place at Marcus Square on Hill Street from December 11 to 24 from 8am until 5pm with his trailer featuring perspex screens and contactless payment.

He also has a 'sit-out team' to assist him who collect every Christmas across Newry.

Hospice fundraising officer James McCaffrey said:

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

"On behalf of all the patients and their families and friends who have been touched by our services in the past 30 years of hospice care I would like to sincerely thank John and his team, and everyone who continues to support them."

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