Thrill-seeking Santas make history abseiling off Cheddar Gorge in fundraising first

  • Watch Richard Payne's report

Dozens of volunteers dressed as Father Christmas abseiled down one of the West Country's most famous attractions, all to raise money for a Somerset charity.

More than 80 Santas, complete with full costume and obligatory white beard, descended a 60-foot cliff in Cheddar Gorge to help the work of St Margaret's Hospice Care today (3 December).

"My initial thought was 'Argghh, it's a long way down', but I overcame that and Santa is very brave because he has to go down lots of chimneys," explained fund-raiser Tess Cross.

"It was a little scary but excellent practice for delivering those Christmas presents!"

More than 80 Santas took to the cliffs at Cheddar Gorge Credit: ITV News

Perhaps unsurprisingly, this was the first ever charity abseil down Cheddar Gorge but quite possibly, not the last given the response.

Last year, St Margaret’s Hospice supported more than 5,000 people, the vast majority through community nurses providing care in people's homes.

"What our wonderful supporters have raised through the abseil will pay for 200 of those visits," explained Hollie Cashmore, Head of Marketing and Communications.

"We make around 800 of them every month so it goes such a long way to providing that care and especially at this time of year when we've got patients and families relying on us to get out to them."

And should the real Santa need some help delivering presents he'll know just who to turn to.