Thousands of residents joined in the festivities, either lining the streets or walking alongside the bus, as Santa and his team of elves, volunteers, and lucky competition winners spread holiday joy. The top deck of the bus offered a perfect vantage point for Santa to wave to the crowds.
The local community’s generosity was overwhelming, with a record £37,620.05 raised. Contributions came from nightly bucket collections, donations at local businesses, and an online Go Fund Me page. This year’s efforts have brought the total funds raised over the past two decades to an impressive £417,500, all of which has been dedicated to local charitable causes.
The funds raised this year will be equally distributed among the 20 Santa Bus charities. These organizations cover a wide range of causes, from hospice care and homelessness support to animal welfare and community development. Notable beneficiaries include Martlets, Chestnut Tree House, the Motor Neurone Disease Association, and many others.
A team of 20-30 volunteers supported the Santa Bus each evening. This diverse group included staff from various departments of Brighton & Hove Buses, local businesses, charities, and even local Councillors. Their combined volunteer efforts amounted to an impressive 1,876 hours, covering roles such as driving the bus, collecting donations, ensuring safety, and assisting Santa onboard.
This year, the Santa Bus expanded its festive journey to include Crawley, where it embarked on a three-night tour. Each night, hundreds of enthusiastic residents gathered along the bus route, contributing to the holiday spirit. Their generosity was evident, as they helped raise a remarkable total of £1,416.14. This amount was collected through diligent nightly bucket collections and donations made via an online Go Fund Me page.
Ed Wills, Managing Director of Metrobus and Brighton & Hove Buses, said: “What an incredible amount of money raised, especially during the present economic climate, and an overwhelming display of generosity from everyone who has supported and donated to Santa Bus charities. Over the last 20 years, the Santa Bus has become one of the city’s most popular and iconic annual events, so we are delighted to have again hosted Santa Claus and his elves on board one of our local buses. A huge thank you everyone who helps makes this happen including the teams of nightly volunteers and everybody who comes out to donate and to give Santa and his helpers a festive wave.”
“I am absolutely delighted to hear how well received the Santa Bus has been for its first ever three-day tour of Crawley. Given the inspiring generosity of the donations made, especially in the present economic climate, we have decided to top up the amount so the final amount raised for Rotary Club Crawley is now £2500.”