Santas running late - PICTURES

Ho Ho ho!

The festive season may feel like a distant memory - but the Christmas spirit was well and truly alive when youngsters from a Sheffield

football team swapped their kits for Santa suits for a fundraising run.

The youngsters, from Wisewood Junior Football Club, had initially planned to take part in a 5k Santa Dash in December - but bad weather meant it had to be cancelled repeatedly.

The original event had been organised by Amy's Retreat - a Sheffield-based charity set up in memory of five-year-old Amy Hall who died of cancer at the age of five. The event will now be held on March 27.

Youngsters from the Wisewood juniors were looking forward to the race so much they decided to hold their own Santa Dash - what they would have raised to Amy's Retreat.

Mark Russell, manager of the club's under 14s team, said: "The kids were looking forward to taking part and had all their costumes so we decided to still donate our entry money to the charity for all the good work it does and to organise our own mini event where we could get sponsors and raise even more.

"Sheffield International venues kindly gave us Don Valley Stadium free and the kids had to do 12 laps which was a long way for them but they did it.

"It was a great atmosphere - we had children as young as three taking part and managing to do four laps, which was a mile."

Amy's Retreat was set up by the parents of Amy Hall who died in February 2000 after suffering with cancer for three years.

The charity was set up to allow families with children suffering or

recovering from cancer to have a break together to give them quality time away from day to day routines.

It provides short breaks at Center Parcs but hopes to eventually build its own holiday home - Amy's Retreat - closer to Sheffield.

To find out more about the charity visit or call 0114 2210204.