Once bitten, twice shy is not something you can say about Gerald Pratt.

At 89, bitten by the fun run bug last year, Gerald is among the first to sign up to this year’s Princess Alice Hospice Santa Fun Run in December.

The former machine shop foreman Gerald, who hails from Whitton, has been walking regularly in Richmond Park and Bushy Park for the best part of two years, having joined the Princess Alice Hospice Walk and Talk group after the death of his wife Margaret.

They both worked at the Wilson and Kyle factory in Brentford; Margaret starting at 14 and Gerald at 17.

They married in 1958 and moved to a house in Whitton the day they were married, where they raised a family and where Gerald still lives. He’s been retired 24 years.

He was inspired to join the Santa Fun Run last year by a new friend he made while on the regular Princess Alice Hospice Walk and Talk strolls in Bushy Park. That same friend, Barry, will be joining him again this year, along with fellow Walk and Talker Sylvia – who last year cheered them on but is joining in this time.

Gerald Pratt

A grandfather of seven, Gerald reckons he will be taking the fun run at a leisurely pace – hopefully, a fast walk – and finish under an hour.

When he’s not out and about on his favourite walks, Gerald can be found in the Hospice Man Shed, which he joined after last year’s Santa Fun Run.

Here he can put his skills to use in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere – designing and making wooden toys and games, planters and other items.

  • If you would like to join Gerald and our other Santas in one of our upcoming Santa Fun Runs in Painshill Park, Richmond Park and Bushy Park, sign up at pah.org.uk/santafunrun or call 01372 461808. There’s a 20% Early Bird discount if  – like Gerald – you book before October 31