A “MENTAL Elf” fundraising drive at Southend Airport has set the ambitious target of £5,000 for a leading mental health charity by walking or running the length of the runway.

The festive fundraiser will take place on Wednesday, December 8 and will raise vital funds for South East and Central Essex Mind.

The £5,000 target has been set from entry fees and sponsorship which the airport will match fund for a potential target of £10,000 awarded to the charity.

Glyn Jones, chief executive of Southend Airport, said: “Our charity partnership with SECE Mind has offered valuable opportunities to raise awareness of mental health. Anyone can be affected, and the partnership has already delivered some fantastic campaigns for both airport employees and the community.

“The ‘Mental Elf’ Run will bring these groups together to achieve a shared goal of 90km and fundraising target of £5,000 which the airport has committed to match fund.”

Southend Airport and its charity partner, South East and Central Essex Mind, has confirmed an extension to the date apply to run the event. SECE Mind serves residents across Southend, Castle Point, Rochford, South Woodham Ferrers and Chelmsford, helping to support local people with their mental health and wellbeing needs.

The total area covered by the charity creates a circumference of nearly 90km and participants of the ‘Mental Elf’ Runway will attempt to achieve this distance together. With the runway 3.6km on a return journey, 25 laps should be completed to achieve the full distance.

The logistics of using the runway for the event are tricky, however. A small window has been identified between cargo flights, Jet Centre movements, aircraft maintenance and traffic and the airport team are working hard behind the scenes to prepare for the festive fundraiser.

Timings are subject to change and spaces are limited. Simply register your interest by emailing: LSA.communications@ southendairport.com.

Participants are encouraged to raise sponsorship via a dedicated Just Giving page.

To make a donation to the festive challenge, visit www.justgiving.com/campaign/ LSA-SECEMind.