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Last Updated: Friday, 17 December, 2004, 07:16 GMT
Charity vigil for 'Black Santa'
Dean Houston McKelvey began his sit-out on Friday
Belfast's Black Santa is beginning his annual Christmas sit-out for charity.

Dean Houston McKelvey plans to sit outside St Anne's Cathedral until Christmas Eve, continuing a tradition started by his predecessors.

The charity vigil has raised more than 2.8m since Dean Sammy Crooks first began the collection in 1976.

He was initially dubbed Black Santa by the media because of his distinctive clothing, and the name caught on among the public.

Dean Houston first sat out for Christmas three years ago, following in the wake of his predecessor Dean Jack Shearer, who died in January 2001.

This is the 28th year of the appeal, which raises money for various Northern Irish charities and Christian Aid.

Dean Houston and his various helpers plan to sit outside the cathedral in Donegall Street from 0845 to 1730 over the coming days.

'Black Santa' appeal hopes
21 Dec 03 |  Northern Ireland
Black Santa appeal reaches climax
24 Dec 01 |  Northern Ireland
Black Santa appeal enters new era
19 Dec 01 |  Northern Ireland
Funeral of record charity fundraiser
17 Jan 01 |  Northern Ireland
Dean dies after short illness
13 Jan 01 |  Northern Ireland

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