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All aboard for Santa as he takes his grotto to Manchester Hospitals

05 Dec 2018

Stagecoach Manchester’s very own Santa took a trip to two Greater Manchester hospitals this week to spread festive cheer with his wheelie-good mobile grotto.

Around 300 children from Wythenshawe Hospital and Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital got on board to get their very own gift from Santa as he took time out from his hectic schedule to spend time with the children and their families.

Stagecoach conducted the visits as part of its latest fundraising activities for its current charity of the year, Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital Charity (RMCHC), and had one of its single decker buses completely revamped for the visits. The interior was dressed with fake snow, Christmas trees and even a sleigh for Santa, while the exterior was covered in a snowy sleighride scene design.

Gifts for the excited children ranged from Christmas Story Books to coloured markers and notebooks, while RMCHC mascot, Humphrey the Bear, also hopped on board to say ‘hello’ as Christmas truly began in this part of Greater Manchester.

Elisabeth Tasker, Stagecoach Manchester managing director, said: “We’ve completely renovated the bus to serve as a way to help children and their families enjoy the festivities despite the challenges that they may currently be experiencing.
“The children at both hospitals enjoyed Santa’s visit today and we’re already looking forward to taking our mobile grotto to other locations across Greater Manchester in the run up to Christmas.”

Penny Hamer, Senior Corporate Fundraising Manager at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital Charity, said: “We’d like to extend a huge thank you to all the team at Stagecoach Manchester for treating our patients in this special, festive way. Our patients were so excited to meet Santa and receive a presents; it really brightened their day! Spending time in hospital over the Christmas period can be particularly challenging for our patients, so treats like this really do make a huge difference.”

A video to show how the visits unfolded can be watched here.

In addition to the Santa’s Grotto, Stagecoach Santas will be entertaining passengers on some of its services across South Manchester in the run up to Christmas, by performing a selection of festive classics to raise money for the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital Charity. 

Stagecoach’s own, Rob and Matt Stennings, have already been out singing for passengers with generous customers donating to raise money for the charity. The father and son team can be seen performing on the following services at these times:

Tuesday 11th December 
13:09 to 14:24 85 service 
15:53 to 19:37 143 service 

Weds 12th December 
07:20 to 08:08 85A service 
08:15 to 11:37 103/102 service 
12:57 to 15:20 50 service

Rob and Matt, who also perform separately in elderly care homes across the region, sing classics such as Jingle Bells, Silent Night and Santa Claus is Coming to Town, with all money donated on bus going to Stagecoach Manchester’s charity of the year.