Bus driving Santas raise £14,350 for charity during December

01 Feb 2015

Bus drivers from Newcastle have raised thousands for charity by spreading some Christmas cheer as they drove their buses during the run up to Christmas. 

Drivers at local bus operator Stagecoach North East dressed as Father Christmas and Scrooge, bringing a smile to the faces of young and old passengers alike and encouraging them to dig deep for their chosen charities. This year, passengers showed generosity in their hundreds, with staff at Slatyford collecting £7,450 for Saras Hope Foundation and Walkergate employees collecting £6,900 for Tiny Lives and Children North East.

Across the six Stagecoach depots, staff raised an impressive £19,315 for various charities over the festive period, which included a donation for each depot from Stagecoach North East.

Bus driver Barbara Watson from the Slatyford depot, said: “Saras Hope Foundation is a wonderful cause working so hard in our local community and we are very proud to have helped them in this way. We would like to thank our passengers for supporting us and giving as generously as they did on their travels and hope we made their journey a little more fun and festive.”

During their shifts additional bus drivers from the company’s Newcastle depots handed out gifts such as rock sweets, miniature reindeer and snowman bugs with a Christmas message to help make the journeys for passengers even jollier.

Carol Bennett, Office Manager for Saras Hope Foundation, said: “Wow what can I say, over £7K was raised by the Stagecoach drivers at Slatyford for our charity, it’s amazing we are thrilled and can’t thank the wonderful passengers who donated so generously throughout the month of December. This donation will enable us to offer more children living with cancer, and their families, a week’s break at Sara’s Retreat which will provide them with smiles, hope and precious memories. Our services really do make a difference.”

Carol Taylor, Senior Fundraiser at Children North East, said: “This is fantastic news and only strengthens our belief that the north east is such a warm and generous community. Children North East was founded on the banks of the Tyne in 1891 by two friends who wanted to make a difference to the lives of local children. The funds raised by Stagecoach Walkergate and their passengers will help us carry on that vital work by helping us to support some of the most disadvantaged children and young people in our region – thank you to everyone who gave so generously.”

Carol Meredith, Head of Tiny Lives said: “Stagecoach is a wonderful, longstanding supporter of Tiny Lives.  Staff have been fundraising for special babies for many years, bringing fun to their customers by collecting donations on the buses whilst dressed in Santa costumes.  We love their festive spirit and appreciate everyone’s generosity helping families on the Special Care Baby Unit at Christmas.” 

Malcolm Bell, Operations Manager at the Slatyford depot, said: “We are always happy to support our drivers in their fundraising efforts and would like to commend them on their dedication to making a difference during the festive period.”

David Wakefield, Operations Manager for the Walkergate depot, added: “I’d also like to thank all our passengers and the rest of the depot for giving so generously. Seeing Santa Claus driving the buses puts a smile on everyone’s face and is great fun for all involved.”

For further information about Stagecoach North East please visit our About us page.