Back hospice Santa cause, urges driver

FESTIVE BUS ... Kenny Ramsay, in his Santa suit to raise cash for St Clare's Hospice, with Coun Jim Foreman.
FESTIVE BUS ... Kenny Ramsay, in his Santa suit to raise cash for St Clare's Hospice, with Coun Jim Foreman.

BUS passengers in South Tyneside who find Santa behind the wheel should have no ‘Claus’ for concern.

Stagecoach driver Kenny Ramsay is offering a special Christmas fare to boost a fundraising campaign.

Mr Ramsay, 59, from South Shields, is swapping his uniform for a Santa suit to spread some seasonal goodwill and raise cash for St Clare’s Hospice in Jarrow.

The charity champion will be dressed as Father Christmas throughout this month, handing gifts to passengers, including Reindeer masks and snowman bugs, while collecting donations for a worthy cause.

It’s the third year Mr Ramsay has got seasonally suited and booted.

He collected £2,000 last year.

Drivers from across Stagecoach North East will be donning a red suit this December to raise money for a host of charities.

Mr Ramsay said: “I have been dressing up as Santa for more than three years now and it has become a tradition. I love it as it helps get everyone in the festive spirit and it is for such a good cause.

“The passengers are always really generous and the children stop to say hello and talk about Christmas.

“The depot has strong links with St Clare’s Hospice. A couple of former colleagues have spent their final days there. One of our driver’s wives was treated at the hospice this year and tragically she died, so it is very close to our hearts.”

Brian Sleightholme, operations manager for Stagecoach North East’s South Shields depot, said: “Each year Kenny really gets into the festive spirit as he supports St Clare’s Hospice with fundraising.

“People enjoy seeing him driving around the town as Santa, and this shows through in their continuous generosity.”

Coun Jim Foreman, South Tyneside Council’s lead member for housing and transport, said: “I’m sure regular transport users will look forward to seeing Santa Kenny and will give what they can to aid a wonderful cause.”

St. Clare’s Hospice was established in 1987 and relies on donations to help it continue to provide the services it offers to people in the South Tyneside area.