Belfast Telegraph

Learning curve for Belfast's Dean-elect as Black Santa appeal begins

By Allan Preston

Belfast's 41st annual Black Santa sit out began yesterday at St Anne's Cathedral, with around £50,000 having been raised for charity so far.

Sporting L-plates on his cloak yesterday was a first-time Black Santa, Dean-elect Archbishop Stephen Forde.

The tradition was founded by Dean Sammy Crooks in 1976 to raise money for charity.

Sitting with a barrel on the steps of St Anne's the week before Christmas in a black clerical cloak, the local press dubbed him Belfast's Black Santa.

Today many people also choose to make their donations online.

Canon Mark Niblock, the Dean's Vicar of St Anne's, was among those collecting for charity yesterday.

"There's always a good spirit about it and you have people shouting Merry Christmas at you across the street," he said.

"It's also the first year of the Black Santa without a Dean of St Anne's in post. But the presence of Archdeacon Forde gave us all a great boost."

The sit out continues everyday from 9am to 6pm till Saturday.

Belfast Telegraph

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