Santa Run returns!

Past Apex Club of Castlemaine members Leigh Tonkin, Stephen Copper and Ash Franklin accept their generous donation from Guildford Grumpies members Alf Partridge, Ian 'Doc' Potter, Steve Cole and Mark 'Truckie' Ashby.
Santa and Past Apex Club of Castlemaine members Leigh Tonkin and Ash Franklin are pictured with their friends from the Guildford Grumpies Mark 'Truckie' Ashby, Alf Partridge, Steve Cole and Ian 'Doc' Potter.

This year marks the 86th anniversary of the beloved annual Past Apex Club of Castlemaine Santa Run which has cemented its place in the hearts and minds of locals over the past eight decades.
Past Apexian Stephen Cooper said they are proud to have kept the long running tradition alive thanks to the dedication of their volunteers and the support of the local community.
“It actually began during the depression in 1937 and saw Apexians handing out apples donated by local orchards and hams from Castlemaine Bacon Company,” Stephen said.
These days the volunteers visit streets and towns across the shire handing out lollies and icy poles to celebrate the festive season. Donations from the community have helped to keep the 86 year tradition alive despite the club disbanding back in 2002.
“Many local families throw us a few dollars as we travel around and this has helped to keep things ticking over to ensure the tradition can be enjoyed by the next generation,” he said.
And of course the run wouldn’t be possible without their wonderful pool of volunteers.
“We have had volunteers come and go over the years but everyone is determined to see the run continue and we always have people prepared to give up their time on Christmas Day to help spread a little Christmas joy,” he said.
The Guildford Grumpies Car Club Inc have once again chipped in a $1500 donation to support the work of the former Apex Club of Castlemaine and its annual Santa Run ensuring they can continue to spread Christmas cheer across an ever growing Castlemaine and surrounding communities.
Guildford Grumpies secretary Steve Cole said many of their members fondly remember the Santa Run from when they were children.
“We are really keen to bring that magic to a new generation and this is one of our major funding contributions each year,” Steve said.
“We hold a number of fundraisers through the year including our annual Peter Turner Memorial Show and Shine in April to enable us to give back to the community and support initiatives such as the Santa Run, and also educational support for students attending Campbells Creek Primary School’s local ‘Guildford Campus’,” Steve said.
“In fact, over the last six years we have raised about $50,000 which we have put back into the local community, including a $6500 contribution to Blaze Aid,” he said.
The Grumpies meet at their headquarters at Guildford’s John Powell Reserve every Tuesday from 10am and also enjoy Friday night Social Club gatherings. In fact, the group is also recognised as a men’s shed and offers friendship and camaraderie.
“New faces are always welcome,” Steve said.
In 2023 Santa and his helpers will undertake five runs across the local region. Volunteers will gather from 6.30am and hit the road from around 7-7.30am on runs throughout Castlemaine and Campbells Creek, out to Chewton and Elphinstone and Guildford. With housing estates across the region growing in size they may be a little later than usual as they get around to everyone. Look for signage in your town for times or listen for the bells, horns and Ho, Ho, Hos!

Castlemaine Mail
Your source of independent local news in the Mount Alexander Shire.