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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

25th annual Jingle Bell Run celebrated

- Bob Blair remembered for his dedication to the event -

by Sylene Argent

On Sunday morning, racers and supporters of Community Living Essex County (CLEC) joined together to participate in this year’s Jingle Bell Run, Walk, and Wheel.

  At the signal, around 600 individuals - all dressed up in Christmas gear - dashed off on Talbot Street, beginning at event partner- Ken Knapp Ford, to participate in the event. The route extended into downtown Essex Centre.

  This year’s Jingle Bell Run, Walk, and Wheel was a special event for a couple of reasons. As is tradition, the event raised funds for Community Living Essex County, so it can continue to support the around 700 individuals from across Essex County, with an intellectual disability and their families.

  Special to the event this year, Ken Knapp Ford offered to donate an additional $10 to Community Living Essex County if they were able to complete the route faster than “Blitzen,” a racer decked-out in Christmas gear.

  In addition, Community Living Essex County celebrated its 25th annual Jingle Bell Run event, which has only been made possible because of the support of the community.

  Last year’s event raised $10,450 in support of Community Living Essex County.

  To help raise funds for Community Living Essex County, participants were encouraged to collect pledges. In exchange, they were eligible to win a variety of prizes.

  This year’s event was also the first since long-time organizer, Bob Blair, who was a well-known community-minded individual who worked at Ken Knapp Ford, has passed. Blair passed away on February 23, 2019.

“This was a really big year,” James Knapp of Ken Knapp Ford said. “It was the 25th anniversary combined with the first year without our Jingle Bell Run founder and Chairperson, Bob Blair. Last year, Bob said to me, ‘I just want to make the 25th.’ Sadly, it didn’t happen, but our goal was to honour Bob in a way that he would have appreciated most. Having said that, the entire community united for a common goal of making this one of the best Jingle Bell Runs ever. Bob’s absence was felt by all of us, especially by his family who were in attendance.”

  Blair was passionate about Community Living and was always at the Jingle Bell Run finish line to support the participants.

  What is unique about the Jingle Bell Run is that it brings together professional racers, who participate in the event along side may of the clients Community Living supports.


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