A WOKING father will be leading a group of 15 longboarders dressed as Santa Claus on a 26-mile journey to raise money for a charity that helped his daughter.
Dean Lake, whose daughter Olivia was born with a heart condition, established the Longboarding for Little Hearts group to help children with heart problems.
The group’s charity skate – called the Santa Cruise – will raise money for the Children’s Heart Federation (CHF).
Olivia was born with a serious heart condition called Tetralogy of Fallot and she needed open heart surgery at the age of seven months to save her life.
Although she was critically ill in intensive care for some time, her operation was a success. She now needs regular hospital checks and will require further surgery in the next few years to correct a pulmonary artery.
Mr Lake said: “While Olivia laid in intensive care at the Royal Brompton Hospital after major open heart surgery I looked around at all of the other babies and young children, some fighting for their lives some in a lot more danger than Olivia.
“I knew then that I had to do something to try to help. So I decided to mark Olivia’s first-year anniversary of good health by setting up a group to raise awareness of the condition.
“I also decided to try to help support the Children’s Heart Federation who support so many families in these difficult periods when their child is unwell.
“The first event was a great success and raised over £2,000. We’re planning an event bigger second event this time on Saturday, December 8 setting off from Hyde Park Corner in London on a 26-mile route to Windsor.”
Rebecca Holt, events co-ordinator at the Children’s Heart Federation, said: “Dean’s a real inspiration. He’s single-handedly launched this fantastic group which is really gathering momentum.
“The events are so different, fun and a real joy to watch as well as take part in. Certainly seeing a big bunch of Santas skating down the A4 to Windsor will be a sight to see.
“Everyone at CHF wants to say a big thank you to Dean and all those other longboarders taking part in the event, helping to support the federation to continue our work supporting families who get the news no parents want or expect.”
To donate, visit www.justgiving.com/longboardingforlittlehearts.