Monday 21 April 2014

Black Santa appeal set to launch

Rev John Mann who will brave all kinds of weather as he leads the 36th Black Santa appeal on the steps of St Anne's Cathedral

The Dean of Belfast says he wants to raise £200,000 for charity through his annual sit-out.

The Rev John Mann will brave all kinds of weather as he leads the 36th Black Santa appeal on the steps of St Anne's Cathedral.

And Mr Mann, who is in his second year at the city centre cathedral, hopes adding a splash of colour to the famous black clerical cloak will help him to stay warm.

"I will be wearing a coloured scarf knitted for me by a 90-year-old woman from south Belfast," he said.

"The key things in keeping warm are good under clothes. I just put normal clothes on top, then the cassock which clergy wear for services, and of course the long black clerical cloak with a black woollen hat."

The Dean will be joined by the Bishops of Connor, Down and Dromore as well as members of the cathedral chapter including its ecumenical canons during the fundraising campaign which will run every day until Christmas Eve, with the exception of Sundays.

Mr Mann added: "People tell me that it is not going to rain but, to be honest I have not looked at a weather forecast all week just in case. If I thought there were going to be three days of rain ahead of me I wouldn't be too keen. I'll just take each day as it comes."

Last year the Black Santa appeal raised £185,000.

Most of the money raised (85%) is distributed to small charities that help the elderly, disadvantaged or promote cross community relations in Northern Ireland.

A further 15% of the donations go towards good causes abroad through Christian Aid.

Press Association

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