The first stage of the 2017 Black Santa Sit-out is underway, with an appeal to our regular donors to remember Black Santa as they do so kindly every year.

The appeal is being issued at a time when, uniquely in the history of this Christmas tradition, we are ‘between Deans!’ This is due to the departure of the Very Rev John Mann for the Diocese of Salisbury in September, and the installation of Dean-Elect, Archedeacon Stephen Forde, early in the New Year.

But of course that does not mean there is no Black Santa!

As Dean’s Vicar. the Rev Canon Mark Niblock. states in our appeal flyer, over the past 41 years this collection has become bigger than one person.

“This is a good opportunity to pay tribute to the staff and volunteers, Canons of the Cathedral and the two Bishops whose seats are in St Anne’s, who all contribute so faithfully to the appeal each year. The Dean-Elect will be on the steps from time to time during the Sit-out as a Black Santa in training!

“So it will feel a little different but as at all moments of need, we know people will rally to support the Black Santa effort to ensure that it is a success and the charities receive their grants as in any other year.”

The Sit-out begins on Monday December 18 and will end around tea time on December 23 as Christmas Eve this year falls on a Sunday. Donations can be made on the steps of the Cathedral during the course of the sit-out, by post – download our Black Santa Flyer 2017 – or online via our website– scroll down to Black Santa Sit-out Appeal.

Canons of the Cathedral and other staff, dressed in the usual black attire, look forward to greeting everyone on the Cathedral steps each day from Monday December 18.

Please help us to continue to help those in need in our city and beyond through this great Belfast tradition.

Pictured above are, clockwise from top left, past Black Santas: Dean Sammy Crooks, Dean Jack Shearer, Dean Houston McKelvey and Dean John Mann