Santas get set for Saintfield Christmas Charity Ride

Saintfield Charity Ride BR Farm
HUMBLE BEGINNINGS: Pius Kulama, the Principal of I Am Academy (I Am Family Ministries) lost both his parents to Aids when he was only four years old. (FW48-559NN)

GREAT excitement is building for the 2019 Saintfield Christmas Charity Santa Ride, which without doubt promises to be the biggest and best ever. It takes place on Saturday, December 7.

The Saintfield Christmas Charity Santa Ride started in 2007 to raise funds via Rock Ministries for underprivileged orphaned children, whose parents had either died from Aids or had been murdered. The Mwamba Choir from Uganda visited Saintfield in 2007 and again in 2009. Pius Kulama was a member of that choir in 2009 aged 14 at the time. Sadly, when Pius was only four years old and his little sister was only two, both his parents died from Aids.

CHOIR: Pius Kulama, back left, with the Mwamba Choir at the 2009 Saintfield Christmas Charity Ride. Also included in the photo is Alastair McIlveen of North Down Marquees and Joan Cunningham, ride organiser. (FW48-558NN)

With the gift of sponsorship from “I Am Family Ministries”, Pius has been through University, which has made him into the articulate, well qualified young man that he is today, with a Bachelor of Science degree. He is now the Principal of “I Am Academy” school in his home village, which educates and feeds about 350 orphaned and needy children under I Am Family Ministries.

Over the past years since the ride began, tens of thousands of pounds have been raised with most of it going to Rock Ministries N.I. Trust, who have now retired. Pius’s ambition in life is to give every child the same chance as he got of a good education, clean water and enough food to eat.

All at Saintfield Christmas Charity Ride want to make a massive difference to these children’s lives and raise as much money as possible for “I Am Family Ministries”.

The day of the ride will commence with everyone arriving at 11am at Saintfield Livestock Mart for a Mulled Wine and Mince Pie Reception and to register their entries. At 12 noon, the Santas mount up and ride into Saintfield Town, led by the “Real Santa” in his magnificent horse-drawn carriage. Meantime, back on Saintfield Main Street at 12 noon, the magnificent Hugo Duncan, Box Car Brian and Gerard Dornan will entertain the crowds. At 1pm, a couple of hundred Santas on horseback will swarm Saintfield Main Street, turning it into a sea of red. This is without doubt one of the most spectacular sights ever to be seen on this island.

Santa will alight from his carriage at the Christmas tree to meet and greet all the children. At 2pm, the Santas return to the marquee for lunch and more live music by the sensational Ashleigh Kirkpatrick. Alastair McIlveen from North Down Marquees will present the prizes for the best dressed Santas. Entry to the marquee is free and anyone wishing to have lunch can do so for a donation of £5, children are free.

LAUNCH: Joan Cunningham, organiser of the Saintfield Christmas Charity Santa Ride, pictured with Santa himself; Pius Kulama of I Am Family Ministries from Uganda and Alastair McIlveen of North Down Marquees at the 2019 Christmas Ride launch at Rowallane Garden, Saintfield. (FW48-557NN)

The cost of the ride is £20 adults and £10 for children, which includes the Mulled Wine and Mince Pie Reception and lunch following the ride. For further details, contact Joan Cunningham on 07775 860744 or email: joancunningham1@gmail.com; www.saintfieldhorseshow/ christmascharityride.com

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