Santa Run in Cambridge Park
For close to thirty years now, on Christmas Eve Santa has been visiting Cambridge Park on the back of a Ute and with the help of some friendly and fit elves delivering bags of lollies to rows of little – and big – kids who line the streets waiting for his visit.
Kellie Brown has been part of the tradition for almost twenty years and invited The Westies to tag along for the ride. Smiles were wide and the air was thick with excitement for the visit of Santa. The contagious energy put us on a high for the next week, because there really is nothing like the joy of Christmas.
The Westies: When did the Santa Run start?
Kellie: Keith Edwards was the fellow that originally started it, he was a member of the Cambridge Park Lions Club. Keith started it in 1989, it always leaves from Pembroke street where Keith lived, a few doors down from my Mum and Dad. My Dad was Santa for many years until he passed away. Keith has since moved to South West Rocks and he ask me if we would like to keep it going because he felt it was a Cambridge Park tradition, so I said yes I would give it a go for a couple of years and see if people were still interested – that was 8 years ago!
The Westies – Why did you keep it going?
Kellie: I suppose the first year I kept it going because it was a legacy to Dad and then I realised it was more than that. I am very socially minded, very community minded, I just love doing it for the community and I like now that you can see the different generations. There is one family on Rugby Street with four generations that wait for us – there’s Nana, Mum, the child and the grandchild. We really look forward to seeing the families each year.
On Greenbank Drive, the area has exploded in numbers. The road has a park half way along and when we first came onto Greenbank Drive two years ago, we thought there isn’t a lot of people and then when we got around the bend we saw everyone set up on their deck chairs, all sitting there with their Eskys. There would have been near 100 people waiting, kids, adults, dogs, they have made into their own community event. It’s great to think that this small event could bring the community together. There may be no other time that you get to know your neighbours, just coming out and standing on the side of your street waiting for Santa brings them together.
The Westies – I’ve noticed a whole load of lollies being given away, do you know how many you give out?
Kellie: When I started doing it there were 3 kilos of lollies – this year we are getting 7! We used 6 last year, so we have upped it by a kilo. We buy them in bulk boxes and Santa’s elves bag them all up. Although the Lion’s Club aren’t involved in the running of it anymore, they donate $350 towards the lollies which is really lovely of them, the lollies probably cost $500-$600.
The Westies – Have you ever run out of lollies?
Kellie: We have never run out so far, we have gotten to the point where we say only little children. A couple of years ago we had 6 days left, last year it was 4 so we have never run out completely, hopefully 7 kilos is going to cover it!
The Westies – How long do you think The Santa Run will continue?
Kellie: I don’t know, but I hope when I am too old to do it that the next generation will continue it. It’s not my Santa Run and I don’t think it was ever the Lion’s Club’s; it belongs to the community. I really hope it continues on.
You can catch Santa this Christmas Eve as he weaves his way through Cambridge Park and Werrington leaving Pembroke Street at 3:45pm, you can find the route here.
Wishing you all a magical Christmas spent with loved ones and cherishing time together as much as any present you may receive.
Interview: Katrina James
Photos: Katrina James