Father Christ-bus is making people smile

Arriva bus driver Ian Evans, who is dressing up as Father Christmas to raise money for charity
Arriva bus driver Ian Evans, who is dressing up as Father Christmas to raise money for charity

Bus passengers have been surprised to see Saint Nick himself in the driving seat this week.

Because bus driver Ian Evans, 44, has been dressing up as the man in red while working the Arriva 500 route from Aylesbury to Watford, which serves Tring, Berkhamsted and Hemel Hempstead.

Ian’s festive outfit sparked a reaction across Dacorum as he picked up passengers along the Arriva route.

He said: “The response from the public was fantastic! It was great to see people waving and shouting ‘Ho, ho, ho,’ as I drove past them – it really made me laugh.”

But aside from putting a smile on peoples’ faces, Ian’s dressing up had a purpose – raising money for the MASKS charity, which stands for Make A Special Kid Smile.

He has raised £376.59 for the charity that supports The Vale Federation of Special Schools in Aylesbury, which includes Booker Park School which his son Harry attends.

Ian, who lives in Aylesbury, said: “I just want to make a difference to the lives of the children at Booker Park and give them a chance to access things that many children take for granted.

“The care they get from the school’s staff is fantastic, so I am proud to raise money for them.

He added: “MASKS is fully committed to supporting the schools in The Vale Federation and as long as I am physically able to fund raise I will make this my priority.

“The people on the routes I drive were so generous – thank you to all passengers who donated.”

Chris Ludlow, principal of The Vale Federation, said: “I am delighted by Ian’s fundraising and grateful for the generosity of his passengers.

“Across the federation we have nearly 300 students with a variety of special needs including those with profound and multiple learning difficulties, those with autism and sensory processing difficulties.

“Others experience behaviour, emotional and social difficulties.

“Donations such as these allow us to purchase additional specialist equipment, technology for the students or provide experiences that would otherwise not be available to them.”