Vital company delivers young carers vital funds

Pictured: Simon Crumpler, Lenny Dance, Rachel Geliamassi, Philippa (Pip) Williams & Dawn Hodges
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“It will let us be children again” is how one young carer put it when she heard how Stagecoach West was giving a charity which supports her and hundreds of others more than £2,500.

Over Christmas staff from Stagecoach donned Santa and elf costumes and customers gave freely as the team travelled across Gloucestershire on a vintage Routemaster bus, complete with grotto.

Dressed up as a bit of fun, the campaign had a serious aim on board – raising money for two charities which look after thousands of young people who care for their families.

All of which has resulted in a late, but very welcome Christmas present for Gloucestershire Young Carers (GYC).

Young carer, Pip Williams, was at Gloucester’s new Transport Hub to collect a giant cheque for £2,557.34 on behalf of the charity from Stagecoach West, which this year celebrates 25 years serving the region.

“I want to say thank you to Stagecoach West for raising this. It is going to pay for our group activities, which allow us to have a break and just chill – and be kids again, rather than shouldering all the responsibility all the time,” said the 19-year old member of Gloucestershire Young Carers, who along with her younger sister looks after her mother, who has multiple sclerosis, and her father, who has lymphedema.

She has done this recently while also facing battles of her own.

“A year ago I was rushed into hospital. I had a very rare flesh-eating bacterial infection – called necrotizing fasciitis. I was 15 minutes away from dying,” she said.

Rachel Geliamassi, operations director for Stagecoach West, said: “I am really pleased to be able to provide this cheque. It represents an amazing effort from our team and the amazing generosity of the public.”

Dawn Hodges, from Stagecoach West in Cheltenham, was one of those who took part in the fundraising.

“It is a really good charity, such a positive cause, and one very close to so many people’s hearts,” she said.

Gloucestershire Young Carers is a charity providing a range of services for young carers who look after an ill or disabled family member. The charity currently supports more than 1,000 young people from the county.