Santa shootout raise terrific sum for St Barnabas House

Santas from across the lands took part in a festive shootout to raise around £1,000 for St Barnabas House hospice, in Worthing, this month.

People at airsoft sites in Clapham Woods, near Worthing, and Ford Rifle Ranges, Ford, slipped into their favourite festive get-ups over the winter period, taking part in a number of military-themed re-enactments.

The sport, broadly similar to paintballing, sees participants shooting small plastic ball bearings at one another from replica weapons.

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Despite the wet and miserable conditions at this year’s event, organisers are already hailing it as one of the best.

Les Lee, 52, was one of the driving forces behind the event, along with friend and fellow “airsofter” Chris Turner and his son Harrison.

Les said that he and Chris had both lost loved ones to cancer and that St Barnabas House hospice had provided invaluable care, throughout.

“I lost my mum Sheila Dinner on her 70th birthday, 10 years ago,” said Les.

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“She fought so hard to stay with us but eventually she died from an aggressive form of lung cancer. She’d never smoked once in her life, so that shows that cancer has the power to touch everyone.

“Chris lost his mother a few months ago so this really helped spur us on.”

Les, who parents used to run The Swan Hotel in Arundel, added: “Both days were attended by so many and considering the weather conditions were absolutely appalling, the desire to generate as much money as possible was clear.

“St Barnabas House is a very deserving charity as it seems that in some way or another, cancer does seem to affect almost everyone at some time in their life.

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“It’s one of those illnesses that people are frightened to really say. But St Barnabas does so much to help families and those suffering with terminal illnesses.”

He wished to thank all those who donated as well as everyone who braved the inclement weather during the two events.

Head marshall, Jimbo Torrent – who helped run the games – said that more fund-raising sessions were already in the pipeline.

He hoped future games would be set up to help support St Barnabas House hospice as well as the Royal British Legion, later this year.

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