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 collecting for the Trinity Holistic Centre in Middlesbrough.
Based on the site of The James Cook University Hospital, the centre provides a little TLC to patients with cancer and other long term conditions – and also supports their families and hospital staff. As well as a calming and welcoming environment – designed by patients and their families who chose the artwork and furniture that makes this such a bright and comforting space – the centre also offers emotional and psychological support and a range of wellbeing projects to promote the overall health and fitness of individuals affected by cancer and other long-term conditions.
50-year-old bus driver Neil English, from Billingham, said: “The Trinity Holistic Centre is a wonderful place, offering much needed support in our local community for those affected by cancer, 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.”
Joining Neil were bus drivers Mark Nicholson, Colin Brown, Lee Haynes, Peter Morgan and Richard Tyrrell, and during their shifts, the drivers and staff handed out festive novelties to help make the journeys for passengers even more jolly.
Kathryn Almond, Head of Complementary Therapy at the Trinity Holistic Centre, said: “We are overwhelmed with people's generosity and would like to thank everyone sincerely. Our service is totally dependable on charitable donations without which we would not be able to do the work we do for people with a cancer diagnosis and their families.”
Nathan Stanislawski, Operations Manager at the Teesside 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. 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.