South Shields bus driver back behind the wheel as Santa to raise cash for charity
Bus driver Ken Ramsay is again hitting the road as his festive alter ego in a bid to raise cash for charity.
The 66-year-old has been donning the famous Santa each December for nine years - helping put a smile on his passengers faces - while also raising thousands of pounds for charities.
Last year, his efforts helped raise £4,500 for CLIC Sargent children’s cancer charity in memory of South Shields youngster Jack Leggett.
The nine-year-old died two-days before Christmas in 2013 of a brain tumour.
In 2014, the grandfather-of-two was presented with a prestigious Care in the Community award - organised by Stagecoach the company he works for.
Even his own battle with the cancer in 2013 failed to prevent Mr Ramsay from taking his place behind the wheel of his bus in the run-up to the festive season.
This year, Mr Ramsay will once again be raising funds for the children’s cancer charity CLIC Sargent in the schoolboy’s memory.
The charity supports families of children who have been diagnosed with cancer with both emotional and financial support.
He will also be raising funds for the Chloe and Liam Together Forever Trust. The charity was created as a lasting legacy to Chloe Rutherford, 17, and Liam Curry, 19, who were both killed in the Manchester Arena bomb attack, to help support young talented performers and sportspeople to reach their potential.
Mr Ramsay, from Heaton Gardens, South Shields, has been a bus driver for the last 44 years.
He said; “I enjoy doing it. The feedback you get from passengers is really good. When you see the kid’s faces it’s something else.
“It is an excellent reception from people, a lot of people ask me in August and September when the Santa suit will be coming out again.
“People are really generous - last year I raised £4,500 for CLIC Sargent which was amazing.
“It is really tiring at times, but someone has to do it.”
Mr Ramsay will be driving on a variety of routes throughout December with his festive get-up until the end of his last shift on Christmas Eve.
During his shifts, passengers will be able to throw in their loose change to one of the two buckets he will have available.
Monies raised will be handed over to the two charities in the new year.