A HATFUL of Father Christmas lookalikes took part in the third Wallingford Santa Dash this weekend.

Some 280 locals ran, jogged and walked the three km event from Wallingford School to the Market Place, organisers said - and some even continued the festive frivolities with a conga dance.

Around £3,000 has been raised for local charity Style Acre, though that figure is expected to rise as more donations come in.

The charity provides 'person-centred high quality support' for more than 250 people with learning disabilities and autism. It says it works with families and carers to 'provide the best possible experience' and was rated 'outstanding' in a report published this year.

The dash was opened by Wallingford's Deputy Mayor Dee Cripps, allowing the Mayor, Lee Upcraft to begin the event from the front.

Mr Upcraft said: “It was great fun and I enjoyed taking part in it. It was a privilege to be able to lead it as mayor and pin the chains of office to a santa costume."

The opening followed a warm up provided by the local Body Training Studio, which organisers said was 'great fun', but it was the post-run antics which caught the eye of many.

Mr Upcraft continued: “They did ask me to lead the conga through town as well which didn’t show the best of my dancing skills.”

The Mayor has been filmed enthusiastically jigging past the Corn Exchange, with countless Santa young and old and a couple of elves in tow.

Throughout the route, 'lots of the friendly helpful elves' helped marshal the event.

The Mayor, who said he was 'one of the first' finishers ("though I did start at the beginning, so that helped") also judged an array of prizes.

Those included best dressed dog, best decorated Santa hat, best alternative Santa.

He then led the Christmas conga around the Market Place at the end, before local were encouraged to take part in a 'Christmas Shopping Extravaganza'.

Organiser Anita Powell said: "It was fantastic to see so many smiling Santas in Wallingford on Sunday – we are so grateful to everyone who helped to make the event such a success.

"It was wonderful to have the Mayor of Wallingford taking part, the deputy Mayor starting off the dash, and support from so many others in the local community.

"We are looking forward to next year’s dash already."

She explained that all participants received a medal from Style Acre and a festive flapjack at the end of the route, which took in the town's parks and muddy fields.

However, the rain held off for the run itself.

One participant added: "I thought the dash was one of the best organised runs I’ve ever done.

"There was great Marshall support, a great warm up, and a fantastic finish. I cannot thank you enough for a fantastic experience.

"I haven’t had such fun on a run for a long time."