Drivers from two Newcastle bus depots have raised a staggering £17,300 for charity by spreading some Christmas cheer as they drove their buses during the run up to Christmas.

Based at depots in Walkergate and Slatyford, 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 the chosen charities across the region.

Customers once again showed generosity, with staff from Walkergate collecting for us, Caring for Kian and Tiny Lives, and each charity receiving just over £2,800. At Slatyford, employees helped to raise a staggering £8,700 for the TOMA Fund. During their shifts, the drivers and staff handed out festive novelties to help make the journeys for passengers even more jolly.

Walkergate bus driver David Kenney, who dressed up as Santa Claus throughout December, said:

All the charities were chosen by the staff, and offer much needed support in our local community. We are very proud to have helped them in this way and it is great to see the depot drivers getting involved so we’re very grateful to them.

Carol Taylor, our Senior Fundraiser, said:

We can’t thank the staff at Stagecoach enough for the fantastic work they put in to raising money for us over the Christmas period. Christmas is a particularly hard time for families who are struggling and the help and support received from the Stagecoach staff and passengers really does help us to continue making a difference here in the north east. Thank you to everyone who has given so generously.

David Wakefield, Operations Manager at Stagecoach North East’s Walkergate depot, said:

The amount raised this year has been astonishing and we cannot thank the public enough for their huge generosity, especially at Christmas when we appreciate that money is tighter than ever. Every year a number of our bus drivers from the Newcastle depots choose to dress up for work and help raise money for charities such as Children North East, Caring for Kian and Tiny Lives, which I am sure makes a huge difference to them. It’s great fun for both the drivers and the members of the public who enjoy seeing who will be driving them.

Malcolm Bell, Operations Manager at Stagecoach North East’s Slatyford depot, added:

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.

Press release by Kathryn Clapham, KCPR.