HUNDREDS of participants donned Santa and elf costumes to brave the harsh cold of Rivington in a hike for Bolton Hospice.

The event, which began on Sunday with its first wave of walkers at 10am, was the third ‘Hike the Pike’ which the hospice has organised.

The walk saw people trek across the rolling scenery of Rivington to the pike and back again.

Everyone who signed up for the event received a Santa suit while young children received an elf suit, giving the hike an especially festive feeling for the first day of December.

The walk was led by the Caledonia pipe band, who helped the walkers embrace the Christmas spirit by playing seasonal tunes to the delighted participants.

The walkers have together pledged to raise an incredible £17,000 for the hospice.

Maria Passarello, events manager at Bolton Hospice, said: “This was the perfect event to bring some festive cheer to our supporters.

“Not only could they remember loved ones missed this Christmas but their generous donations would provide a special Christmas for our patients and their families.

“Merry Christmas and a Happy New year to all those that support us, we are truly grateful.”

Among those who took part were Diane Charnock and her five-year-old granddaughter Katelyn Saunt.

Katelyn who suffers from HSP (Henoch-Schonlein purpura) a condition that causes inflammation of the blood vessels affection joints and other organs, walked the whole 5 miles.

Diane said that all she wanted at the end was the certificate, which “kept her going all the miles.”

While the weather was frosty, the picture-perfect walk allowed people to embrace the views of the landscape all around them.

At the top of the pike stood Father Christmas ­— played by Cllr Andy Morgan, a trustee of the hospice­ — who greeted hikers to the delight of young children, who were also able to post their wish-lists.

He said: “It was absolutely amazing. Everyone was really happy, children were running about having a great time and it was a great day.

“This supports the work the hospice does and everyone turned out for it.” For information on hospice fundraisers visit