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Mental Elf 2022

Participants dressed up for the occasion at Southend Airport.

London Southend Airport has been overrun by elves as part of a festive fundraiser for Southend-based mental health charity, South East and Central Essex Mind, raising more than £4,500.


The ‘Mental Elf’ event, which saw 104 participants run 197 laps of the runway (a cumulative distance of 702km), took place on Saturday, December 3 to raise awareness for mental health and SECE Mind’s new ‘Somewhere to Turn’ phone helpline.

JustGiving donations have reached highs of more than £4,500 – but the final total is yet to be confirmed. This will include ticket sales, all car parking charges for the event and additional proceeds from the Mental Elf market and tombola.

Esken, who own London Southend Airport, has committed to match funding up to £5,000.  

Participants were able to walk, jog or run one full return length of the runway (3.7km) and then as many laps as they could manage thereafter.

This unique opportunity was made possible by closing the aerodrome up until midday.

The mental elves were encouraged to don their finest festive dress, with the likes of Sir James Duddridge Conservative MP for Rochford and Southend East and airport CEO John Upton joining in the fun.

From snowmen, penguins and Mrs Claus to Mario, reindeer and many, many elves the runway was taken over by all manner of Santa’s little helpers.

Extra special guests included the Southend Ghostbusters and Enzo the Elf from Splash of Character Events.

Jo Marchetti, who organised the event, said on the day: “This is the second time we’ve held the event here at the airport and another fantastic atmosphere with everyone dressed up in the festive spirit. Thank you to everyone for your donations and to airport staff for your help as volunteers.”

Robyn Blackwood, Income Generation & Communications Manager for SECE Mind, said: “As our charity partner, London Southend Airport has been really supportive in providing such a unique venue for our run and helping us raise funds for our vital local mental health services. 

“We’re very grateful to the airport for their support and to everyone who has fundraised.” 

London Southend Airport would like to thank Scott’s of Southend for donating 150 vouchers for participants and volunteers to enjoy a free hot drink and tray bake.

The JustGiving page is still live for people to make donations.


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