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Gym owner bringing Christmas cheer to dozens of families

Mickii Edwards completed a 66-mile fundraising run ahead of this weekend's 'Christmas extravaganza'

A gym owner who is bringing Christmas cheer to dozens of less well off families this festive season has completed a gruelling fundraising challenge.

Former rugby league player Mickii Edwards, who runs a gym in Oswaldtwistle, is collecting money so that Santa can give 66 sets of presents to the town’s youngsters, as well as a very special surprise for two particularly deserving families.

The ex St Helens, Oldham and Wales star, from Great Harwood, said his Mickii Edwards Weight Loss Academy has been saving up all year to fund the event this Sunday, run in partnership with Community Solutions and Hope Church Lancashire.

And in a bid to raise a further £8,000 for the ‘Make a Difference this Christmas’ appeal, Mickii, 41, set himself the task of running 66 miles from Oswaldtwistle to Manchester and back in a day - a challenge he completed earlier this month.

However, super-fit Mickii, whose motto is ‘Nothing is Impossible’, admitted he ended up running about 10 miles further due to a miscalculation of the route.

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He said: “The run was only supposed to be 66 miles and basically I forgot you can’t run on the motorway! Coming back in I had to go through Ramsbottom. I was hallucinating!”

Organisers are still some way short of their fundraising target, however, and Mickii is asking for help from the community and local businesses to support the festive giveaway event at Hope Metro Church, Oswaldtwistle.

The Christmas extravaganza event at the church, on Watson Street, will run from 5pm to 7pm on Sunday, December 18.

Admission is free and will also include a firework display, Christmas grotto, donkey rides and coffee house.

There will be a nativity play, gospel singers and carol singing.

Mickii added: “On the 18th they’re going to get a big sack of toys. Santa Claus is going to come in and shout people’s names out. We have collected toys for children who don’t get anything, children in care or don’t have much money.

“We’re getting them a Christmas like any child should have.

“All the kids will get toys worth about £200 each. We are also hoping to send two families to Disneyland.”

Help Mickii’s appeal here .

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