My View, Ben Parkinson: Getting set for annual festive Santa dash

Ben Parkinson dons Santa gear
Ben Parkinson dons Santa gear

December at last and it’s my favourite time of year.

I’ve always been very lucky.

My family love Christmas with all the trimmings, and we have always been spoilt rotten.

Even the Christmas just after I was injured and in Selly Oak Hospital, my mum managed to get the entire family down to Birmingham where she cooked Christmas dinner in shifts in her little flat.

It meant that there was always somebody in my room and there was always somebody eating.

For me this month is very busy with lots of great events from the school parties and nativities, to presentations and black tie balls.

That is before I mention one of my favourite pastimes, Christmas shopping, stopping for festive hot chocolate with cream of course.

Any man who says that he does not enjoy this form of shopping is telling lies!

After joining the army I spent most Christmases away from my Doncaster family, but with my military family.

As a single soldier I had to stand guard over Christmas to let the family guys have time at home.

Once I was in Kosovo and although it was cold and hard going on that tour we managed to have the most amazing Christmas.

No details needed!

But I know it’s not like this for everybody.

For me it’s very hard to believe that so many lads who have served their country find themselves on the streets with nowhere to live and no family support.

I’ve just become a patron of a local charity called Help 4 Homeless Veterans.

For some time now they’ve been quietly supporting the lads who have found themselves on hard times, trying to get them into accommodation and jobs,and to find them treatment for PTSD – post traumatic stress disorder.

I’m very proud of this and hope to be able to help the cause.

Another charity that I am patron of is the Friends of Sandal Park.

They have done the most amazing job over the years, by turning the park from being a bit run down, into a place which is now safe and lively, with lots of new things for the kids and events for the grown-ups.

So we come to the opportunity for you all to join me at Sandal Park on December 13 for the annual Santa Dash.

This represents your best chance to fulfil all your fantasies and to dress up as the man in red himself, or his trusted elf.

Leading me out will be my fierce woodles, Bertie and Isla in full costume.

Don’t miss this once-in-a-year opportunity which is for a great cause

Bring the dogs, bring the kids, bring the mince pies and hot chocolate!