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Last Updated: Friday, 7 January, 2005, 17:45 GMT
Tsunami appeal reaches 1m mark
The Black Santa appeal has raised almost 1m
The Black Santa appeal has raised almost 1m
More than 1m has been raised by the Black Santa sitout in aid of survivors of the Indian Ocean tsunami.

Dean Houston McKelvey said collectors at St Anne's Cathedral had been greatly affected by the public's generosity.

"We feel very proud of the community s response. It has come from every place in the province and from every aspect of life in this city," he said.

The Black Santa collection will end on Saturday, but money can still be left at the cathedral.

'Immense character'

Dean McKelvey said: "All of the members of the Black Santa team have been greatly affected by this outpouring of generosity at the cathedral's doors.

"Each of us have our own stories to tell of the individuals and groups that we have met.

"We have had the undoubted privilege of meeting people of immense character; truly great fellow humans of all ages who have been moved to give in such an immediate and generous way."

Since 1976, successive deans of Belfast have sat outside the Church of Ireland cathedral to raise money for charity, and were dubbed Black Santa because of their distinctive clothing.

During the 2004 pre-Christmas appeal, Dean McKelvey had already raised more than 200,000 for local charities.

However, he decided to extend his vigil for the first time following the massive tidal waves which devastated coastal areas around the Indian Ocean on 26 December.

More than 150,000 people across the Indian Ocean region died in the tsunami disaster, while millions more are homeless.


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