A GROUP of Nordic Walkers swapped their sticks for Santa outfits on Sunday as they took part in a festive charity fun run.

The health conscious group usually walk up to 15 miles around Marlborough using the Finnish walking technique that uses sticks similar to ski poles.

The charitable group took part in the annual fundraising event and all dressed up as Santa for the 5k trail.

Group leader Ashley Sandy took up the sport after learning how to Nordic walk while living in Switzerland. When she returned to Marlborough she trained to become a personal trainer and launched a range of classes.

Ms Sandy, 54, from Collingbourne Kingston said: “We had a fantastic time at the Swindon Santa Run. 10 of us took part and we came in with some very good times, 40 mins for our top guy and 45 mins for our fastest lady.

“Nordic walking is very inclusive because you walk with sticks and they support you. For example it is good for people with an injury or after a knee or hip operation. It is also very sociable, we always manage to have lots of fun and a chat during our walks.”

The Santa run took place on December 3 in Lydiard Park, Swindon to raise money for the Wiltshire Air Ambulance and the Swindon Down's Syndrome Group.