Fylde boxer and pals join forces in charity 'Santa's Slog' for needy children across Lancashire

Bill Hodgson, 38, will raise money for various charities across Lancashire by pulling the sleigh from the North Euston Hotel in Fleetwood to Kirkham tomorrow (Saturday December 12). He will be joined by friend Ben Gayton and other supporters as they tackle the 26-mile-long “Santa’s Slog.” Wayne Sanderson, founder of Blackpool homeless and community charity The Albert Project, will also show his support in a bid to raise money for less fortunate children this Christmas.

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Fylde boxer and pals join forces in charity 'Santa's Slog' for needy children across LancashireKirkham boxer Bill Hodgson (right) will pull a 500kg sleigh made by friend Pete Marquis (left) for 26 miles, to raise money for a variety of Lancashire charities this Christmas. Photo: Bill Hodgson

The Albert Project and Ben are collecting new toys for Fylde coast children, and Bill is raising money for needy tots and victims of stroke across Lancashire.

Bill, a professional boxer and owner of a security firm, said: “I just thought with what’s been going on this year, I want to raise a few smiles on peoples’ faces. “Lots of people have been out of work, and children haven’t been able to go and see Santa, so I thought it was a good thing to do. “I also lost my mum to a stroke two years ago, so I’m raising money for a charity close to my heart, Kirkham Integrated Stroke Support.”

Fylde boxer and pals join forces in charity 'Santa's Slog' for needy children across LancashireFylde boxer and pals join forces in charity 'Santa's Slog' for needy children across LancashireA makeshift Coca-Cola truck will follow Bill as he pulls a 500kg sleigh across the Fylde coast for Lancashire charities.

The 500kg sleigh, built by friend and keen fundraiser Pete Marquis, will be pulled for around 10 hours across the coast, with a makeshift Coca Cola truck following behind.

Bill has been pulling cars for eight miles in preparation for the event, where he will take donations for a number of Lancashire charities. The charities set to receive donations are Blackpool’s Donna’s Dream House, Fylde Food Bank, Rock FM’s Cash For Kids, Preston’s The Space Centre, Child Action North West, Blackburn’s Secret Santa, and Kirkham Integrated Stroke Support. So far, around GBP40,000 has been pledged to the cause, and hundreds of presents have been collected for less fortunate children on the Fylde coast by The Albert Project and supporter Ben Gayton.

Ben, a 33-year-old landscaper from Grange Park, said he “couldn’t turn down” the chance to help Bill and The Albert Project. “I’m only going to be carrying around 30kg in a sack and that’s nothing compared to Bill, but a bit of soreness to make little kids happy is so worth it,” Ben said. “We’ve heard about people who need help through word of mouth, so we’ve been collecting new toys to give out to families who have been hit hard this year.

“I’ve been training for two weeks carrying flags for miles on my back and I can hardly walk, but Bill is such an inspiration I jumped at the chance to be able to help.” Wayne Sanderson, founder of The Albert Project, said: “We are trying to help as many families as we possibly can. “At first we were a homeless charity, but now we help the wider community and a lot of people in Blackpool are going to be struggling this Christmas.

“We won’t see any kids going without.

This is for a fantastic cause and we will carry on taking presents right up until Christmas.”

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