BLACK Santa is due to finish on Christmas Eve his annual sit-out for charity at St Anne’s Cathedral in Belfast.
The Dean of the cathedral, the Very Rev John Mann, has been collecting money for charity on the steps of St Anne’s since 15 December.
However, despite the tough money times for hardpressed householders, Rev Mann still hopes to raise £200,000.
The Dean is supported in the effort by the bishops of Down, Connor and Dromore, as well as the cathedral canons. Last year £185,000 was raised.
The charity vigil started in 1976 under Dean Sammy Crooks and has raised millions of pounds for charity since then.
Dean Jack Shearer, who died in 2001, was initially dubbed Black Santa by the media in the 1980s because of his distinctive clothing and the name caught on among the public.
The appeal raises money for around 200 charities in Northern Ireland as well as Christian Aid.
After the Asian tsunami in 2004 the then Dean Houston McKelvey extended the time for collection.
Thousands of people turned up to the cathedral to donate money for the victims, raising £1.6m in just a few weeks.