Have you seen this team of Santas behind the wheel in Hartlepool?

Bus drivers in Hartlepool are dressing up as Santa to bring festive cheer to passengers - and raise money for charity.

Thursday, 13th December 2018, 5:00 am
Greg Hildreth (back), Wendy Fletcher and Keith Bagguley.
Greg Hildreth (back), Wendy Fletcher and Keith Bagguley.

The festive initiative is part of Stagecoach North East’s annual fundraising campaign, which has seen drivers swap their uniforms for festive costumes once again in aid of Hartlepool’s Alice House Hospice.

The hospice, based on Wells Avenue, provides palliative care to adults with life limiting and terminal illness.

Throughout December, bus drivers from Stagecoach North East’s Hartlepool depot are taking to the driving seat dressed as Santa in a bid to raise as much as possible.

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Bus driver Keith Bagguley said: “Every year the response from the public is really positive, it’s fantastic.

“Everyone loves Santa Claus and I think it has become a part of the build up to Christmas in the community. 
“It’s just good fun and certainly gives a great atmosphere on the buses.

“We are collecting funds for Alice House Hospice as it’s a charity on our doorstep and it was a natural choice for us.”

Staff will also be handing out festive novelties to passengers to raise further funds.

‘Elf’ and fellow bus driver Wendy Fletcher, also known as Santa’s Little Helper, added: “Getting dressed up really cheers people up and brings a smile or even a laugh, which is nice at this busy and sometimes stressful time of year.

“I really want to say a big thank you to everyone who supports us, as it is really their generosity which makes the difference.”

Alice House Hospice exists to ensure people affected by a life limiting illness or the death of a loved one have the care, comfort and support they need.

As the only adult hospice in Hartlepool and East Durham, its range of services make a difference to the lives of thousands of families each year.

Greg Hildreth, events fundraiser for Alice House Hospice, said: “We are delighted to have the support of Stagecoach drivers and passengers this Christmas – this is a great way to raise funds at Christmas and I’m sure it will brighten up people’s journeys.”

Shaun Anderson, assistant operations manager at Stagecoach North East’s Hartlepool depot, said: “This has become a popular feature on our buses over the years and the drivers and staff really enjoy spreading some seasonal cheer for our customers.

“We hope that with the help of our passengers we can raise some much-needed funds for Alice House Hospice.”