Stagecoach santas drive up charity total

Santa bus drivers  (left to right) Graham Button, Stephen Lines, Colin Thompson and Mick Gowland

Santa bus drivers (left to right) Graham Button, Stephen Lines, Colin Thompson and Mick Gowland

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THEY say Christmas is the season of good will – and that was exactly the case for this bunch of fun-loving bus drivers.

These kind-hearted Stagecoach bus drivers dressed as Santa throughout December and raised nearly £4,000 for charity.

Graham Button, Stephen Lines, Mick Gowland and Colin Thompson, all from Hartlepool, only set a target of £250 in their bid to support Guide Dogs for the Blind.

But generous customers in Hartlepool excelled, helping the drivers to raise a staggering £1,950.

Stagecoach North East matched the fundraising total, meaning the drivers were able to hand over £3,900 to the charity.

The town branch of the charity spoke of their delight at the amount of money raised.

Al Winton, secretary of the Hartlepool and Seaton Carew branch of Guide Dogs for the Blind, said: “We all, every one of us, got a shock when we found out they had raised that amount.

“Once again the people of Hartlepool have been absolutely fantastic.

“The profile of Guide Dogs in Hartlepool is slowly beginning to rise and that is excellent.”

The £3,900 raised by the Hartlepool depot contributed to a total exceeding £25,000, raised by drivers throughout the region.

The charity is extremely close to the heart of bus driver Graham Button.

It supports his mum and Graham, 44, said it was a natural choice to help boost the charity’s coffers.

Graham, who has been a driver for the company for four years, said: “We really enjoyed getting dressed up and the response from the public was fantastic.

“We were aiming to raise a few hundred pounds so to almost reach £2,000 shows just how generous our passengers were.

John Conroy, managing director of Stagecoach North East, added: “Graham, Stephen, Mick and Colin really got into the festive spirit to support Guide Dogs for the Blind and the public’s generosity never fails to surprise us.

“I think our passengers enjoyed seeing Santa Claus driving the buses. It puts a smile on everyone’s face.

“I am always happy to support my drivers, particularly when they’re actively helping the community and raising funds for a good cause, so we are gladly matching the £1,950 raised.

“Well done to them all.”