Santa Bus for air ambulance

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Bus passengers taking the 701 Judds service between Peterborough and Whittlesey were pleasantly surprised to see Father Christmas behind the wheel of the regular Northern Counties-bodied Dennis Dart.

The inside of the bus was decorated with a tree, tinsel and lights to carry the Christmas spirit through the Fens.

Jason Stimson (36), has carried out his own festive tradition for the last four years to raise money for the East Anglian Air Ambulance. He has raised more than £1,500 for the charity since 2007.

He told the Peterborough Evening Telegraph: “This is the fifth Christmas I have worked with Judds, so it is the fifth time I have dressed up.

“It started when I joined the firm and asked if I could decorate the bus, as we don’t swap between drivers.

“The boss said it was fine and suggested I dressed up. I believe it was said as a joke, but I thought, why not?

“In the first year I was Santa, the second a passenger dared me to dress as a fairy – which was not a pretty sight – the third year I dressed as a Christmas pudding and the last two years I have dressed as Santa.

“I normally start a couple of weeks before Christmas and people are always asking if I will be dressing up at Christmas. People who have not seen me before are always shocked when they see me – but are always generous and donate some change.

“I hang a stocking in the bus for people to donate in, and I normally get about £300 every year.

“The reaction I get from people, especially the children, makes it all worthwhile for me.

“I chose the air ambulance because it is a charity which everyone might need at some point in their lives, and they don’t get any funding – it all has to be raised through charitable donations.”

Stephanie Judd, from Judds Travel, said: “We are delighted Jason has dressed up as Father Christmas again and we hope it raises lots of money for charity.”