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, bus drivers Carol Taylor, Oz McCormack, Gemma Brannen and Graham Thompson from Stagecoach North East’s depot in Sunderland are swapping their uniforms for festive costumes in a bid to raise funds for St Benedict’s Hospice and Sunderland Cardiac Support Group.
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 £1,560. The drivers can be seen driving around the city as in festive wear throughout December, hopefully attracting plenty of attention and donations from passengers and the public.
Bus driver Graham Thompson, 33, from Seaham who this year is dressing as Bah Humbug, said: “Every year the response from the public is really positive, it’s fantastic. Everyone loves the outfits 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 Benedict’s Hospice again as it’s a charity on our doorstep and new for this year, Sunderland Cardiac Support Group.”
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.”
Laura Smith, Operations Manager at Stagecoach North East’s Sunderland 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 both of these local charities.”
Donations can be made online at http://www.justgiving.com/teams/stagecoachNE