Santa helping Derry charity raise valuable funds

Santa will return to the Guildhall on November 28 this year to raise funds for Children in Crossfire.

Martin Gallagher is the man behind the beard and he will be taking up the reins of the sleigh at the Guildhall to spread festive cheer while raising awareness of malaria.

Martin said: “My wife Mary and I started the Santa Appeal for Children in Crossfire in memory of our son Christopher, who tragically passed away from malaria in 2006 at the age of just 23. Our goals over the years have been to keep Christopher’s memory alive, raise public awareness of malaria and support a very worthwhile cause.

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“I am looking forward to getting back to the Guildhall from Monday, November 28. I’ll be in the sleigh, ready to welcome local children to get their photo taken with Santa. This year, we will also be giving out free colouring books which will help children to understand climate change.

SANTA HAS ARRIVED AT GUILDHALL!. . . . The Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Sandra Duffy pictured launching ‘Santa’s Big Fundraising Appeal for Children in Crossfire!’ at the Guildhall on Monday afternoon. Santa will be in his sleigh in the foyer of the Guildhall from now until Christmas Eve. Included in photo are Richard Moore, Director, Children in Crossfire and Mary Gallagher. (Photo: Jim McCafferty Photography)

“Anyone wishing to come along should check Children in Crossfire’s social media platforms for my timetable. I will be able to accept cash and phone donations – and want to stress that, in these tough times, every donation will help.”

Children in Crossfire’s Chief Executive Richard Moore said: “We are so grateful to Martin and Mary for their loyal support for Children in Crossfire, in Christopher’s memory. Martin dedicates a month each year to fundraise for us as Santa at the Guildhall. He’s there in all weathers, always smiling and getting passers-by into the Christmas spirit.

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“Over the years that the Gallaghers have been supporting us, well over £80,000 has been raised to support our healthcare and education programmes in Tanzania and Ethiopia. This is an incredible achievement from a deeply caring couple and very compassionate family. It is also a wonderful tribute to their much-missed son.

“I have no doubt the Derry public and visitors alike will once again support our Santa Appeal, especially now that it’s back to normal after the COVID pandemic. We pledge that every penny raised will be put to very good use to support some of the world’s most vulnerable children.”