Staff from a Hartlepool bus depot raised cash for a much-loved charity on its doorstep by spreading some festive fun as they drove their buses during the run up to Christmas.
The drivers at bus operator Stagecoach North East dressed as Santa Claus while on duties, bringing a smile to the faces of young and old passengers alike and encouraging them to dig deep for their chosen charity, Alice House Hospice.
Alice House Hospice ensures 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 unique range of services make a vital difference to the lives of thousands of families each year.
To bring seasonal cheer, staff handed out festive novelties during service and customers once again showed their amazing generosity by raising £817.
Taking part in the seasonal campaign once again was veteran bus driver Keith Bagguley, from Hartlepool, with colleague Wendy Fletcher.
Keith, 58, who has been a driver for over five years, said: “It is an amazing amount of money that we collected over December and we would like to thank our passengers for giving as generously as they did on their travels and hope we made their journey a little more fun and festive.
"I really want to say a big thank you to everyone who has supported us as it is their kindness which makes the difference.”
Greg Hildreth, corporate fundraiser for Alice House Hospice, said: “What a great way to spread some Christmas cheer and at the same time raise money for local hospice care.
"It was lovely to be chosen again by Stagecoach for this privilege and both Keith and Wendy are great sports for getting right into the spirit.
"Thanks to them and Stagecoach passengers for such generosity and for helping to make a real difference to our patients and their families.”
Shaun Anderson, assistant operations manager at the Hartlepool 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, especially Keith Bagguley and Wendy Fletcher.
"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 £30,000 for various charities over the festive period, which included a donation for each depot from Stagecoach North East.