A CHARITY champ is back behind the wheel of his bus less than six months after bravely battling cancer.
For the past four years Ken Ramsay has been dressing as Santa in the run-up to Christmas to raise money for cancer charities.
But in June, the 60-year-old’s world was turned upside down after he himself was diagnosed with a life-threatening condition.
A trip to the hospital after suffering a crippling pain in his side, which the dad-of-two believed to be a problem with his appendix, turned out to be bowel cancer.
Mr Ramsay who has been a bus driver for the past 40 years, said: “I thought it was my appendix but when they examined me further, they found a tumour on my bowel.
“When they told me, my wife and children were upset. Being told you have cancer is the last thing you expect. All I could do was stay positive.
“I received excellent care at South Tyneside District Hospital, and hopefully I am going to have a full recovery.”
Mr Ramsay, who works for Stagecoach, underwent surgery to have part of his bowel removed in July and is receiving chemotherapy as a precaution until March.
He went back to work for the first time on Monday and couldn’t resist bringing out the Santa outfit once again. Mr Ramsay, who has raised thousands of pounds over the years for charity dressed as Santa, said: “I have been doing this for the past four years now raising money for St Clare’s Hospice in Jarrow after a number of ex-drivers or their wives lost their lives through cancer.
“But this year, I’ll be raising money for Macmillan Nurses, as they have been brilliant through everything and have been really supportive.”
The popular grandfather will be driving the buses around South Tyneside dressed as Santa until December 24.
Money collected in a bucket placed on the bus will be donated to the Macmillan Nurses who provide support to people diagnosed with cancer and their families.