BUS drivers picked up more than £1,500 for two worthy charities, thanks to a festive fund-raising campaign.
Drivers Michael Chapman and Ian Horner, with the rest of the team at bus operator Stagecoach North East, based in Monkwearmouth in Sunderland, dressed as Father Christmas and Scrooge, bringing a smile to the faces of passengers young and old, encouraging them to dig deep for their chosen charities.
Last Christmas, passengers showed generosity in their hundreds, donating £1,560, which has been shared between Sunderland charities St Benedict’s Hospice and animal charity Dog AID, which provides people who need help with daily tasks.
Bus driver Michael Chapman said: “St Benedict’s Hospice and Dog AID are both wonderful causes, 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 a further 11 bus drivers from the depot 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.
Catrina Flynn, fund-raising manager for St Benedict’s Hospice, said: “On behalf of all the patients, families and staff at St Benedict’s Hospice, I would just like to thank everyone at Stagecoach NE who took part in the Christmas fund-raising.
“We are so, so grateful to them for really entering into the spirit of the whole thing and of course thank you to all the passengers who contributed so generously.” Lynn Stacey, 48, from Hetton, who fund-raises for Dog AID, said: “All of the drivers have done a great job bringing cheer to all the passengers and encouraging them to dig deep.
“We are so grateful to all the drivers and staff involved in the fund-raising efforts and would like to say a big thank you to all the passengers for their generosity.”