Santa Claus is coming to town – and he could be behind the wheel of your taxi this Christmas.
Darren Murphy, 32, from Jarrow, is set to take part in a Christmas fundraiser with a difference next month.
The taxi driver will don Santa’s famous red suit and white beard for his shift on Saturday, December 19.
Darren, of Prince Consort Road, will raise funds for St Clare’s Hospice, and will have a collection box in his taxis for customers to donate during the day.
He works for Central Taxis, which is based in Hudson Street, South Shields, next to Tyne Dock Metro Station.
It is the second consecutive year he has dressed up as Santa for a shift, raising funds in memory of his dad Thomas.
Last year, all of the customers loved it, particularly the childrenDarren Murphy
Thomas died of cancer in January last year and was cared for by St Clare’s Hospice, which provides care for those with progressive and advanced illnesses.
Darren is now hoping to pay it back for the care staff gave his dad.
He said: “My dad is the motivation behind the fundraising, and since he passed away, I’ve wanted to raise money for St Clare’s Hospice.
“They looked after him and I’ve seen first-hand what a great job the staff do there, so I just want to do something to help. I did the same thing last year, but I’m hoping that this year will be even bigger.”
Bookings have already started to come in for Darren on December 19.
His shift is between 11am and 2am the next day, and beforehand, he is taking bookings from people who would like a house visit from Santa, costing £10 per visit. All proceeds will go to the hospice.
Father-of-three Darren is already looking forward to the day, especially after the positive response last year.
He added: “I’ve had bookings already, including one from a dance school. Last year, all of the customers loved it – but particularly the children. Some people found out about it and made sure they booked me. People were booking up just to see Santa in the taxi.”
Donations can be made on the day in the taxi, or by calling into the Central Taxis office, in Hudson Street.