Express & Star

'12 days of Christmas school runs' is back for British Heart Foundation fundraiser

A group of parents have dressed up as favourite festive characters again this year to help raise money for the British Heart Foundation.

Pupils, staff and even the repair workers dressed up to meet Niall to help kickstart the festive fundraiser

The 12 days of Christmas school runs was started by a dedicated father, Niall O'Connor, who aimed to raise awareness over heart disease after his wife died of heart disease last year.

Pupils at St. Nicholas C of E First School, on Chillington Drive, Codsall, cheered as they saw the festive figure at the gates, with this year's first costume featuring a blow-up Christmas Grinch - who this year was feeling especially inflated.

Speaking at the school, Niall said: "This is all about making people happy, making the kids happy, having a laugh and spreading the awareness of heart disease.

"We had a really good reaction this morning. I was blown away when I turned up, I didn't expect everyone to be dressed up, it was absolutely brilliant. Christmas really can be a hard time for everyone so if we can make people laugh, that's great."

Parent Niall O'Connor has started his 12 days of Christmas School Runs fundraiser

Niall will complete 12 more school runs to help raise money for the British Heart Foundation, with many more parents expected to join in the festive fun.

Niall continued: "It's all dedicated to my wife, who sadly passed away last year from heart disease, so the money we are raising will go towards the British Heart Foundation.

"If we raise money that would be great, but as long as we make people smile and have a laugh, that's all we want. And I really have to thank the headteacher Ms Parker, if it wasn't for her I wouldn't be able to do any of this - the school has been fantastic."

Niall was joined by plenty of other festive parents on the last day of last year's school runs

Last year the father-of-three dressed up in 12 different festive-themed costumes for the school runs, with a Christmas cracker, Rudolph and a Christmas tree his favourites.

Jodie Parker, the headteacher at the school, said: "Today was a great day, it all started this year with everyone dressed up. We even had some workmen who were doing repairs for us who caught wind of it and dressed up as well.

"This year it is in memory of [Niall's] wife again and it's all to raise awareness for heart disease and to make people smile. The children are so excited when they come to school, they love guessing what he is going to be dressed as.

Last year saw headteacher, Ms Jodie Parker, dress up as a snowwoman to help raise awareness

The school has planned an informative talk between the students and members of the British Heart Foundation on the importance of the work the foundation does.

Ms Parker continued: "Last year it was pretty much just [Niall] until the last day when we all dressed up, but it's great that this year everyone is getting involved.

"He's started a JustGiving page this year to make it easier to donate, and we have organised a few other things with the British Heart Foundation to help spread awareness. We all really do love it."

Those looking to donate to Niall's fundraiser can find more information on the Justgiving page