Drivers from a South Shields depot have raised a staggering £4,200 for charity by spreading some Christmas cheer as they drove their buses during the run up to Christmas.
The drivers at local bus operator Stagecoach North East dressed as Santa Claus while on driving duties, bringing a smile to the faces of young and old passengers alike and encouraging them to dig deep for their chosen charity. Customers once again showed generosity, with staff once again collecting for CLIC Sargent in memory of 9-year-old Jack Leggett from South Tyneside.
CLIC Sargent is the UK’s leading cancer charity for children, young people and their families, and provides clinical, practical, financial and emotional support to help them cope with cancer and get the most out of life. The team at the depot were moved when they heard of the passing of youngster Jack from a brain tumour in 2013, and are keen to support whenever they can.
Showing his support for the seventh year, veteran bus driver Kenny Ramsey from Heaton Gardens in South Shields was one of the drivers who took part. He was delighted to hand over the cheque to the charity alongside Jack’s Grandad, David Young, and mother, Susan Clarkson.
Kenny, 63, who has been a driver for 44 years, said: “The depot team was very keen to once again collect for CLIC Sargent as it’s on our doorstep and very popular with the drivers. We would like to thank our passengers for giving as generously as they did on their travels and hope we made their journey a little more fun and festive.”
“I really want to say a big thank you to everyone who has supported us, including Stagecoach and Lee Hughes from the Red Hackle pub, as it is their generosity which makes the difference.”
Joining Kenny were bus drivers Mark McCann, Tony Ward, Anthony Owens and George Miller, and during their shifts, the drivers and staff handed out festive novelties to help make the journeys for passengers even more jolly.
The cheque was collected by Lindsay Kay, CLIC Sargent area fundraising manager for the North, and the monies raised will be used to further support the great work being done for the cancer charity.
Lindsay said: “A huge thank you to everyone involved for their fantastic support and generosity. £4200 could provide up to twenty five families with our £170.00 initial grant, helping families cope with the cost of cancer and we couldn’t be more grateful. Thank you so much for joining our fight for young lives against cancer.”
Janine Fowley, Operations Manager at the South Shields depot, said: “We are always happy to support our drivers in their fundraising efforts and would like to commend them again on their dedication to making a difference during the festive period, especially Kenny. 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.”
Across the six Stagecoach depots, staff raised an impressive £26,500 for various charities over the festive period, which included a donation for each depot from Stagecoach North East.