A VIRTUAL Solstice Saunter is to be held this winter following a hugely-successful event earlier in the year.

The summer saunter, in June, attracted more than 900 entries – including some from New Zealand, South Africa and America – and raised £25,000 for Manorlands.

Organiser, Airedale Dodgers Running Club, is staging the winter version between December 18 and 21.

People are invited to run, saunter or walk a five-kilometre route of their choice between sunrise and sunset.

Participants will receive a medal and can enter their time on an event leaderboard. Some prizes will be on offer for the best photos.

Entry costs £20, with all proceeds going to the Oxenhope Sue Ryder hospice.

Dr Chris Healey, a founder member of the Airedale Hospital-based Airedale Dodgers, says: “The response to our virtual Solstice Saunter – sponsored by JB Springs – on the longest day was amazing.

“Unfortunately life has not yet returned to normal and the hospice has had to cancel most of its fundraising events, so we decided to do something similar on the shortest day of the year that people can take part in wherever they are in the world.

“From all of our team here at Airedale Hospital to all of our amazing supporters, let’s make this a really special Christmas – supporting those in the hospice and our community at their time of greatest need.”

Andrew Wood, community fundraising manager at Manorlands, said: “It was fantastic that over 900 people embraced the virtual Solstice Saunter earlier this year, which raised an incredible amount of money to support our vital work.

“We are now excited to kick-off the winter season with this new event, which will provide the opportunity for people to get active, have some festive fun, add another stunning medal to their collection and help us to continue to be there when it matters.”

Participation in the Winter Solstice Saunter can also count towards Sue Ryder’s December Daily Dash.

The dash will see people challenge themselves to run, jog or walk five kilometres every day during December.

For further information about the Winter Solstice Saunter and to sign-up, visit sueryder.org/wintersolstice.

Manorlands supports patients with life-limiting illnesses and their families at the hospice and in the community, across an area covering Craven, Airedale and Wharfedale as well as parts of Bradford.

All services are free to patients and their loved ones, but it costs £10,000 a day to keep the hospice doors open – or £3.6m a year.

Only a small part of the cost, £1.2m, is covered by statutory funding.

A large shortfall is anticipated this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.