05 Jan 2015
Staff at Stagecoach North East bus depots in Newcastle have brought a belated Christmas present to two north east charities, thanks to their fundraising efforts over the past 12 months.
After receiving a gold award at the 2014 Stagecoach Champions Awards for its community fundraising, employees from each depot received a cheque for £1000 for their efforts and the Newcastle teams decided to donate the cash prize to Children North East (CNE) and Saras Hope Foundation.
CNE is a 123-year old charity which promote the rights of disadvantaged children and young people, so that they have a better chance in life, whilst Saras Hope Foundation, inspired by the late Sara Hoburn, runs a holiday retreat in Crete offering respite for children and young people with cancer and their families.
During December each year, local residents of Newcastle are taken to their destination by the “Driving Santas” as part of Stagecoach North East’s community fundraising efforts. The drivers hand out gifts onboard for passengers, including sweets and reindeer and snowman bugs with a Christmas message on the ribbon, and collect money for local charities.
Dave Kenny, 59, a bus driver at the Walkergate bus depot in Newcastle, is a passionate supporter of the charity and has helped raise money for CNE over the years.
He said: “Winning the award was amazing and great recognition for the team, who love this time of year when we can dress up, have fun and also help our local community. To receive the prize money was a real boost for the depot and to be able to hand it over a help make a small difference to disadvantaged children, especially at this time of year, is a pleasure.”
Carol Taylor, Senior Fundraiser at Children North East, said:” This is brilliant news and we are so happy and proud to be supported by Stagecoach North East this Christmas. Unrestricted funding such as this enables us to do so much more to help disadvantaged children, young people and their families in our region.”
Carol Bennett, Office Manager for Saras Hope Foundation, said: “Since June 2011 to October 2014 this year, Saras Hope Foundation sent 50 children living with cancer, and their families to Sara’s Retreat in Crete, giving them the opportunity to spend precious family time together after their traumatic cancer journey. We need to continually raise funds to enable us to send more deserving children from the North East in 2015 and this gift will enable us to do just that. We can’t thank Stagecoach enough for their continued support, the bus drivers do an amazing job and we are eternally grateful to them.
David Wakefield, Operations Manager at Stagecoach North East’s Walkergate depot, said: “Our bus drivers are a credit to Stagecoach North East, as they go above and beyond their duties to help their local community wherever possible. We are delighted to be able to build on our fundraising for Children North East.”
Malcolm Bell, Operations Manager at Stagecoach North East’s Slatyford depot, said: “The “driving Santa” initiative is well loved by the staff and passengers and always goes down a treat, bringing a smile to customers and much needed funds to local charities such as Sara’s Hope Foundation, which we are thrilled to be able to help with the award prize from the team.”
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