RUNNERS ruffled feathers as they held an impromptu carol singing service for Christmas present shoppers.
Around 100 members of Sunderland Strollers gathered in The Bridges this evening as they held their own turkey takeover.
The running club donned the bird outfits and ran from Ashbrooke Sports Club to the shopping centre to raise funds for St Benedict’s Hospice, flooding the mall from different entrances to gather under its tree.
The group then sung Christmas songs including Silent Night, Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer and White Christmas.
The idea came together after the Ryhope-based charity’s own Turkey Trot event was shelved as it struggled to recruit runners in the lead up to Christmas.
Strollers bought the outfits to stage their own version of the race.
The sale of the fancy dress kit and collection at the centre is estimated to have raised £1,500 for the hospice.
It brings the total amount collected for its funds and Sunderland Royal’s Phoenix chemotherapy unit to around £5,000.
Sharad Trivedy, trustee of St Benedict’s, said: “It was excellent, superb, I’m lost for words.
“They have done a lot for us and it’s tremendous.”
Phil Tweddell, president of the Strollers, who has prostate cancer, is among members of the group who are being treated by both units or have been helped by their expertise in the past.
He said: “When I heard the Turkey Trot had been cancelled, I spoke to Sharad and got hold of the suits to raise money for the hospice.
“Members go along with anything that’s daft.
“It’s been great.”
The group added their thanks to the management of The Bridges for allowing them to host their sing-along inside the centre.
Members of the Strollers plan to run from Ashbrooke to Seaburn seafront in their outfits from 10am on Boxing Day to watch the annual dip.