A Santa's sleigh which travelled around Westhoughton to bring joy to children over Christmas has raised more than £5,000 for charity.

Thanks to the generosity of residents, the Westhoughton Rotary Christmas sleigh has amassed an impressive £5,640.

Braving the freezing temperatures, rotary Father Christmas and his elves took to the streets of Westhoughton to receive a warm welcome from residents and the money raised along the way will now go to support charities and the organisation's community projects.

According to organisers, for many people Christmas only starts when the Rotary sleigh comes round, and they have said as always, the response has been wonderful.

Ronald Bell, rotarian at the Rotary Club of Westhoughton, said: “This year for the first time, we had a tracker on the sleigh, so people could check on their mobiles when we were on our way, which was particularly appreciated in the bitterly cold weather.

“The response to the sleigh this year was terrific from young and old alike.

“All the children were excited to meet Father Christmas and when asked if they’d been good, said ‘yes’!

“Though one young boy, in a burst of honesty, admitted that he’d been both good and bad, but promised to be good right up to Christmas Day!

“The sleigh has been running for over 40 years, so we’re always thrilled – but not surprised – when we hear from grandparents that they remember the sleigh coming round when they were little.

“For the third year running, we were delighted that Rotary Father Christmas could record a special Christmas message, which was viewed well over 10,000 times.

“He was tickled pink at his growing online following!

“We so appreciate local people spreading news about the sleigh and sharing their photos on social media.

“We really felt the excitement building over the Christmas season.”

The Santa's Sleigh is a major event in the totary calendar, and the group cannot wait for it to return next year.

Westhoughton totary president Stuart Bailey said: “I’m absolutely delighted with the money we have raised this year.

“Local people always enthusiastically get involved with the tradition of the Rotary sleigh and the fact that they have been so generous in these tough times is absolutely fantastic.

“I would like to say thank you to each and every one of them.

“My special thanks also go to James Booth (Bolton) Ltd and to Bolton Kia for their invaluable support, as well as to all our volunteers.

“Without them, we simply wouldn’t be able to make the sleigh happen each year.

“Finally, I wish everyone a happy and successful 2023.”

Before the celebrations begin again for Christmas in 2023, the rotary club will be presenting charities with cheques from the money raised at a special dinner in the spring.