A RED and white mantle of happy fundraisers brought a staggering cash windfall to charities when the Saddleworth Santa Dash came to town.

Some 1,500 men, women and children turned Uppermill’s High Street into a dancing, cheering sea of colourful delights urged on by enthusiastic crowds who lined the route.

And Saddleworth Round Table, the event’s dedicated organisers, say early estimates reckon the sell-out event raised between £9,000 and £10,000 to plough back into the community.

Despite a prelude of heavy rain, the runners, some carrying toddlers, shrugged off the slippery conditions and forged ahead with friendly competition on the 2k and 5k dash routes, marshalled by police Oldham Mountain Rescue Team and volunteers.

The event was widely praised for its orderly, cheerful family atmosphere. Now with its steadily growing success, there is a possibility the number of runners could increase at a future Yuletide event.

And after completing the 5k course in just over an hour, Oldham’s all-action Mayor Javid Iqbal, who wore Mr T style gold chains and sported Number 199 over his Santa outfit, pledged he would run again next year.