Customers may find themselves being driven to their destination by a new festive addition, as Santa and his little helpers take the driving seat for Stagecoach North East’s annual Christmas fundraising campaign.
Throughout December, drivers and other members of staff, including Carl Sweeting and Simon Richmond from Stagecoach North East’s depot in Hartlepool, are swapping their uniforms for festive costumes in a bid to raise funds for Hartlepool Hospice, which provides palliative care to adults with life limiting and terminal illness.
To bring seasonal cheer, staff will also be handing out gifts such as sweets, pens, angels, Rudolphs and other festive novelties, hoping to raise funds for the much loved local charity and beat last year’s total of £1,020. The team can be seen driving around the town in festive wear throughout December, hopefully attracting plenty of attention and donations from passengers and the public.
Deputy Duty Manager Carl, 43, said: “Every year the response from the public is really positive, it’s fantastic. Everyone loves Santa Claus and I think it has become a part of the build up to Christmas in the community. It’s just good fun and certainly gives a great atmosphere on the buses. We are collecting funds for Hartlepool Hospice as it’s a charity on our doorstep and it was a natural choice for us.”
Relief Manager Simon, 38, added: “Getting dressed up really cheers people up and brings a smile or even a laugh, which is nice at this busy and sometimes stressful time of year. I really want to say a big thank you to everyone who supports us, as it is really their generosity which makes the difference.”
Greg Hildreth, events fundraiser for Hartlepool Hospice, said: “It’s wonderful to have the backing of such a prominent organisation in the town and I’m sure that this will provide a substantial boost to our festive fundraising. On behalf of the Hospice, I’d like to especially thank all of the drivers for getting behind this campaign and being such good sports.
“I’d also like to say to passengers that all donations will be greatly appreciated and will be used to fund the specialist care services we provide free of charge to our patients and their families.”
Janine Fowley, Operations Manager at Stagecoach North East’s Hartlepool depot, said: “This has become a popular feature on our buses over the years and the drivers and staff really enjoy spreading some seasonal cheer for our customers. We are always happy to support the fund raising activity of our team and hope that with the help of our passengers we can raise some much needed funds for Hartlepool Hospice.”
Donations can be made online at http://www.justgiving.com/teams/stagecoachNE