Stranraer Renal Unit, Creetown OAPs, Newton Stewart Football Club, Minnigaff Scouts....... what could these groups possibly have in common with Santa and his sleigh?
It’s a cold dark December night and outside the cattle market in Newton Stewart the sound of a generator coughing into life gives rise to Christmas Carols, lights, and a jolly bearded man in a red suit ringing his bell and shouting “Ho Ho Ho!”.
It was during December that Newton Stewart and District Round Table embarked on its annual fund raising event. Over a three week period the brave and hardy men of the Round Table chaperoned Santa and his sleigh as it visited each and every town and village throughout Newton Stewart and the Machars. On week night evenings the sleigh leaves Newton Stewart around six in the evening and the brave ‘tablers’, after a full day at work, set out in pursuit, chapping doors and shaking their collecting tins. At nine o’clock it’s time to call it a day and the ‘tablers’ congregate at the local pub for a well earned plate of soup and sandwiches. Once the collecting tins are emptied and the money counted it’s time to head home for some rest before doing it all again the following day.
“You’d think we be sick of Christmas songs?” said Darren Andrews who has been a tabler for 11 years, “but it’s great to be out collecting money for good causes. And we get such a welcome everywhere we go. Everyone loves waving to Santa and it’s not just for kids, the older people in the community in particular seem to enjoy seeing Santa and his sleigh.”
The Round Table has been taking Santa round the Machars for 20 years.
“It’s become part of Christmas tradition now”, explained Darren, “and all the money we raise stays in the local community. Anyone can write to us and ask for a donation.”
It’s the local aspect to the fundraising which gives Santa and his sleigh such appeal. Every penny raised in the area, stays in the area, and last year the Round Table donated nearly £3000 to good causes. From local football teams to the Newton Stewart pantomime, from the renal unit in Stranraer to the Creetown pensioners day out, it’s hard to find a local group that hasn’t benefitted at some stage from a Round Table donation. This year the Round Table raised a staggering £3200, which is quite incredible given the economic circumstances we find ourselves in. Whilst everybody else is tightening their purse strings the Round Table is still able to support local groups and good causes.
Secretary Paul Sutherland said: “We meet on the first Monday of every month in the Galloway Arms Hotel in Newton Stewart. “We’re always keen to hear from local groups and good causes and we’ll always support them if we can”.
If you belong to a local group or good cause and you’re looking for financial support why not drop them a letter. It certainly doesn’t hurt to ask, just write to Newton Stewart Round Table c/o Galloway Arms Hotel, Victoria Street, Newton Stewart.
Santa and his sleigh had a lot of support from the local community this year and the Round Table were keen to thank all of the pubs who provided soup and sandwiches free of charge (Galloway Arms Hotel, Barholm Arms, Harbour Inn, Steampacket Inn), Motorwise for providing a vehicle to tow the sleigh, GK Ford for storing the sleigh and finally all the volunteers, too numerous to mention, who came out to help on those cold dark December nights.
Enjoy your nights off ‘tablers’ it’s only 210 sleeps until December… ho ho ho!