Page last updated at 13:47 GMT, Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Black Santa's city sit-out begins

Dean Houston McKelvey
The annual appeal began in 1976

Belfast's ever popular Black Santa has begun his annual Christmas sit-out for charity.

Dean Houston McKelvey will, as has become tradition, brave the elements outside St Anne's Cathedral each day until Christmas Eve.

This continues a tradition started by Dean Sammy Crooks in 1976.

Dean McKelvey first sat out seven years ago, following in the footsteps of his predecessor Dean Jack Shearer, who died in January 2001.

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

The appeal raises money for various charities in Northern Ireland as well as Christian Aid.



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