IF YOU’RE taking the bus into Havant or Portsmouth you may just be driven by someone very special.
Father Christmas is taking the reins of Stagecoach buses from today to raise money for two very important charities.
His entire single-decker bus will be decked out in amazing lights, and adorned with a reindeer and another Father Christmas.
The man in red will also be helped out by a festive elf, who will be collecting money on behalf of The Rowans Hospice, in Purbrook, and The Roberts Centre, in Portsmouth.
One of the engineers behind the bus is Brian Gigg who recently lost his sister Yvonne Fry.
He has been volunteering his expertise for many years but this year was even more poignant.
He said: ‘Yvonne had tremendous support from the Rowans Hospice care team a few weeks ago as she died of bone cancer.
‘I hope that the Santa Bus, as in previous years, can help boost the great service provided by both charities.’
From now until Christmas Eve, the Christmas bus will take over on routes 20, 21, 23, 37 and 39.
There will even be festive music for passengers to hear as they travel.
Matt Cooper, assistant operations manager from Stagecoach in Portsmouth said: ‘We are just on our way back to the depot now and we’ve already had lots of smiles from people. You can’t help smiling when you see it.
‘We are delighted to keep the tradition of the Santa bus alive as we get fantastic feedback from everyone who travels on board.’
Carole Damper, chief executive of The Roberts Centre said: ‘It is truly magical that a company that serves families in the city should give this magical present to the children.’
Stagecoach engineer Simon Davis also helped out Mr Gigg.
A special addition to the bus this year will be thanks to electrician Les Barnett – reindeers’ red noses will light up when the bus brakes.
To see the timetable go to stagecoachbus.com/sleigh.
It can also be found on any of the buses or the main bus station in Havant.