Lord Montagu waved the chequered starting flag for the biggest ever VW Santa Run, as a record 152 VWs set off in convoy from Beaulieu to deliver Christmas presents to youngsters at the Piam Brown unit at Southampton General Hospital.
As many as 385 participants entered into the Christmas spirit for the annual charity run across the New Forest on Sunday 2nd December, by dressing up in festive costumes and covering their VWs with wacky seasonal decorations. Classic split-screen and bay-window VW T2 campers were joined by their modern T3, T4, T5 and T6 van and motorhome counterparts to fill the Beaulieu Events Arena, along with Beetles and even trikes with VW engines.
Accompanied on their journey by a team of motorcycle out-riders for their sixth annual convoy, the colourful VWs delivered hundreds of donated gifts to the unit for children and teenagers with cancer and haematological disorders, with enough presents for hospital doctors and nurses too. An extra 36 VWs to last year took part in the event.
At the start-line in the grounds of the National Motor Museum, Lord Montagu gave prizes for the best dressed van and family. The coveted Best Dressed Family prize was won by a collaboration of two families. Austen, Nicky, Aoife, Fintan and Orlagh of the Hornsby family from Yateley near Farnborough, joined forces with David, Christy, Lucy and Ollie of the Court family from Farnborough, to create a team of eight Santas and one Rudolf!
The Best Dressed Van award went to Steve Wright and his family, who had set off from Bristol early that morning in their 2003 VW T4 van decorated with thousands of fairy lights. Appropriately, Lord Montagu presented both sets of winners with their prizes of Beaulieu biscuits and fudge, plus a VW plaque, in front of the Christmas at Beaulieu Cathedral of light tunnel on the illuminated festive trail.
The Best Dressed Dog award was presented to three-year-old Cockapoo Max, who was dressed in a cosy Christmas jumper by his owners, the Ford family from Camberley. Lord Montagu gave Max a cuddly dog toy as his prize.
Beaulieu continues its festive celebration with the first Christmas at Beaulieu light trail in the grounds of the attraction until December 24th. From December 22nd to January 6th Beaulieu’s daytime visitors can enjoy a traditional Victorian Christmas in Palace House.