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Sit-out raises £175,000 so far

By Alf McCreary

The annual charity sit-out by Belfast's Black Santa at St Anne's Cathedral is going "very well" with more than £175,000 raised by the end of the first three days.

Lord Mayor Jim Rodgers paid a visit yesterday to the Cathedral to meet the Dean of Belfast, the Very Rev Dr Houston McKelvey, and his staff collecting money from the public.

Dean McKelvey said: "There have been a number of significant donations and the appeal is going very well.

" On the first morning a lady came to me with £1,000 in cash and another donor took out a cheque-book and wrote us a four-figure sum. On Wednesday we had a good day with two firms from the building sector donating £10,000 between them."

He said that the appeal is attracting many donors, including some high- profile people.

"The other evening, at dusk, a car drew up and out stepped Martin McAleese, the husband of President Mary McAleese, who gave a donation.

"The next day a bus with schoolchildren stopped and as I went to thank them for their donation, one child said 'Black Santa why have you no beard?' I replied 'Mrs Black Santa does not allow me to have one'.

Dean McKelvey said: " We are very pleased at the response and we hope by the weekend to have passed... £200,000. The sit-out will take place on Christmas Eve from 9.30am until 5pm."

Belfast Telegraph


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