A FESTIVE fundraiser is hoping to make Christmas special for mums and children blighted by domestic violence.
Hartlepool man Jim Croll is returning to his annual guise as Santa Claus to raise cash for his 15th year.
For more than a decade dedicated Jim has donned his Santa costume to visit a range of venues to raise cash for worthy causes in town.
This year he is urging people to back his campaign to raise funds for the Hartlepool Women’s Refuge which helps families affected by domestic violence.
For a minimum donation of £20, Jim can visit schools, nurseries and children’s groups to meet youngsters and spread Christmas cheer in the run up to the festive season.
Jim narrowly missed out on top honours after he was nominated for a Fundraiser of the Year accolade in the Mail’s Pride of Hartlepool Awards in 2011.
He has raised thousands of pounds in his time, including £272 last year for Autistic Rights Group Hartlepool (ARGH).
But he is hoping to have a bumper year this time around and raise a hefty sum for the women’s refuge.
Mr Croll, 67, who has been CRB checked in his role as a school governor and in other youth work, said: “Santa this year is raising funds for the Hartlepool Women’s Refuge. Every penny earned will go to providing much-needed facilities for the families in need.
“While £20 is quite acceptable, Santa asks that where possible any larger amount would be gratefully received on behalf of the charity.”
As well as visiting schools and groups, Jim said he is available to open Christmas fairs, sit in a Santa’s grotto as well as handout gifts and chat to the children.
“He asks for people to provide the grotto, the gifts and one chaperone.
He can also attend private parties, visit a children’s birthday and Christmas party, or even visit your family home for a private chat with you and your children.
The retired British Steel worker, of the Oxford Road area of Hartlepool, originally started raising money due to problems his son Michael, who had problems with his heart, and kept on playing Santa as he “loves making kids happy”.
All people have to do is contact Jim on (01429) 869231.
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