Customers may find themselves being driven to their destination by a new festive addition, as Santa takes the driving seat for Stagecoach North East’s annual Christmas fundraising campaign.
Throughout December, bus driver Kenny Ramsey from Stagecoach North East’s depot in South Shields is swapping his uniform for a festive costume in a bid to raise funds for CLIC Sargent, a leading cancer charity for children and young people, and their families.
To bring seasonal cheer, staff will also be handing out gifts such as sweets, angels and other festive novelties, hoping to raise funds for the much loved local charity and beat last year’s total of £1,320. Kenny and the team can be seen driving around the town as in festive wear throughout December, hopefully attracting plenty of attention and donations from passengers and the public.
Kenny, 61, from Heaton Gardens in South Shields has been a driver for 42 years. He has donned a Santa suit for the past six years and enjoys the festive fun. He 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 CLIC Sargent as it’s on our doorstep and is popular with the team, after a friend and former employee at the depot tragically lost his grandson to cancer and CLIC Sargent was of great support.”
He 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.”
Brian Sleightholme, Operations Manager at Stagecoach North East’s South Shields depot, said: “This has become a popular feature on our buses over the years and Kenny really enjoys 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 CLIC Sargent.”
Donations can be made online at http://www.justgiving.com/teams/stagecoachNE