Saintfield Charity Santa Ride

Joan Cunningham (Ride Organiser), Santa, Ashleigh Kirkpatrick. Back row from left Johnathon and Linda Millar (Bryan Sommers Travel Saintfield), Bree Rutledge (Horse Week) Valerie McBride (McBride Fashions) and Alastair McIlveen (North Down Marquees)
Joan Cunningham (Ride Organiser), Santa, Ashleigh Kirkpatrick. Back row from left Johnathon and Linda Millar (Bryan Sommers Travel Saintfield), Bree Rutledge (Horse Week) Valerie McBride (McBride Fashions) and Alastair McIlveen (North Down Marquees)

Saintfield’s Main Street will be turned into a sea of Santas when Ireland’s largest equestrian charity event is staged in the town on Saturday, December 2nd.

Riders from all over Northern Ireland will converge on the historical market town to take part in the annual Saintfield Christmas Charity Santa Ride now in it’s eleventh year.

Joan Cunningham (Ride Organiser), Santa, Ashleigh Kirkpatrick, back row from left -- Leo Casement (Artist), Michael Drake (MBE), Angela Cartright, Bree Rutledge (Horse Week), John Barclay (Manager Bank of Ireland
Downpatrick) and Malcom Wing.

Joan Cunningham (Ride Organiser), Santa, Ashleigh Kirkpatrick, back row from left -- Leo Casement (Artist), Michael Drake (MBE), Angela Cartright, Bree Rutledge (Horse Week), John Barclay (Manager Bank of Ireland Downpatrick) and Malcom Wing.

At a reception, kindly hosted by the National Trust in the idyllic autumn setting of Rowallane Garden, event organiser Joan Cunningham, in welcoming guests outlined this year’s Charity Santa Ride.

“Without a doubt it is the highlight of our local equestrian calendar, and we would hope to have in or around 200 Santa’s on horseback, all riding for a very worthy cause,” said Joan.

The day will commence with everyone arriving at Saintfield Livestock Mart at 11am where they will be greeted with mulled wine and mince pies to create the seasonal atmosphere.

On arrival riders must go to the marquee to register their entry where they will receive a sticker and lunch ticket.

Diane Simpson (Kerr Group Insurance) Santa, Ashleigh Kirkpatrick, back row from left Jim Majury (Kerr Group Insurance), Robert Burgess Newry Mourne and Down District Council, Bree Rutledge (Horse Week), Alastair McIlveen (North Down Marquees) Joan Cunningham (Ride Organiser), John Barclay (Manager Bank of Ireland Downpatrick) Michael Murray, Robert McCarthy.

Diane Simpson (Kerr Group Insurance) Santa, Ashleigh Kirkpatrick, back row from left Jim Majury (Kerr Group Insurance), Robert Burgess Newry Mourne and Down District Council, Bree Rutledge (Horse Week), Alastair McIlveen (North Down Marquees) Joan Cunningham (Ride Organiser), John Barclay (Manager Bank of Ireland Downpatrick) Michael Murray, Robert McCarthy.

Everyone is encouraged to come early and leave plenty of time to enjoy the festive reception.

The ride is scheduled to leave the Mart at noon with Santa leading the retinue in Fawcett’s magnificent horse-drawn carriage followed by celebrity guests in a second carriage.

Meanwhile, back in Saintfield the crowds of well wishers lining the Main Street will be entertained with the popular Country Harmony, the excellent vocals of Box Car Brian and the man who is never lost for a ready word or a rapid response, comedian Terence McKeag.

At 1pm Saintfield will be transformed into the most Magical Christmas Spectacle when the Santa’s on horseback ride into town.

Santa will alight from his carriage at the Christmas Tree to the absolute delight of all the children.

Keeping to their schedule the Santa’s will make their way up Main Street heading towards Ballynahinch then turning around the Fair Green and proceeding back down the Main Street again, before crossing over into Station Road and returning to the mart for lunch, more live music and mighty craic.

Prizes will be presented after lunch for the best dressed Santa’s.

This will be judged in the morning by Alastair McIlveen from North Down Marquees, who have been the main sponsor of the ride for very many years.

The cost of the ride will be adults £20 and children £10 Admission to the marquee is free and anyone wishing to have lunch can purchase same for £5 while their child or children eat free.

For further information contact: joancunningham1@gmail.com or 07775 860 744 or wwwsaintfieldhorseshow.com/christmascharityride