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Black santas hit the streets in Belfast and Dublin

Black santas hit the streets in Belfast and Dublin

‘Black santas’ in Belfast and Dublin have gone on the street to collect money for charity during the period. The santas are clergy men, backed up by volunteers, who stand outside their respective churches in all weathers collecting cash from passersby.

Belfast’s “Black Santa” began his annual Sitout at St Anne’s Cathedral to raise money for a wide range of local charities and for work in the developing world. The Dean of Belfast Dr Houston McKelvey said: “It would not be Christmas without the Sit-out, and it is all about affirming the Good Samaritans in our society who give voluntary service in a myriad of ways.”

He added: “Their efforts cover all age groups, and their voluntary service ranges from after-school clubs to fundraising for medical research, and from counselling people in despair, to developing parental skills.”

This will be Dean McKelvey’s eighth Sitout since he was appointed. The annual collection has raised over £3 million to date.

In Dublin Canon Tom Haskins has come out of retirement to raise more money for charity in his usual pre-Christmas position outside St Ann’s Church on Dublin’s Dawson Street. It will be the seventh annual “Black Santa” sit-out by Canon Tom Haskins, who retired as vicar of St Ann’s and St Stephen’s earlier this year.

Charities to benefit will include the St Vincent de Paul, Barnardos, the Samaritans and others working for overseas development.

Paul Artherton has a BA (Hons) Degree from Queen’s University and a MA Degree in Journalism from Pennsylvania State University. He has worked in PR and fundraising for over 27 years. Previously assistant director for fundraising and public relations at the Simon Community Northern Ireland for seven years, for the last 17 years he has run his own fundraising consultancy business specialising in fundraising, sponsorship, public relations and recruitment. His clients have included charities, private sector and public bodies. Examples include the Ulster Cancer Foundation, Simon Communities of Ireland, NI Hospice, North and West Belfast Health and Social Services Trust, Aiken Promotions, the Industrial Development Board and the Ulster Museum. He has lectured on voluntary sector management at Queens University Belfast Institute for Continuing Education. Since 2010 Paul has been a lay member of the NI Charity Tribunal.

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