THE Santa Bus returns to Swindon next week just in time for Christmas.

Stagecoach West’s specially-decorated double-decker sleigh will bring Father Christmas and his elves to Wharf Green in the town centre on December 20.

Saint Nick is touring Wiltshire in the vintage Routemaster bus and will stay in Swindon all day, greeting excited children and offering presents to them from 8.30am to 5.30pm.

Rachael Youd, business development manager at inSwindon BID Company, said: “This is a great initiative by Stagecoach, who are one of our BID members.

“We would encourage shoppers to take their children along to visit Santa and his mischievous elves and make a donation to support the charities that provide much needed support in our communities.”

He’ll also be visiting Cheltenham and Gloucester twice, but only from 11am to 3pm each time.

The Santa bus attracted quite a crowd when Father Christmas arrived in town last year at the Orbital and his much-anticipated return is expected to be just as popular.

All the money raised during the trips will go to Friends of Swindon Young Carers and Gloucestershire Young Carers.

Stagecoach West’s managing director Rupert Cox said: “We are delighted to enter into the spirit of Christmas and help spread a little magic with our Stagecoach Santa Bus.

“Many young people do a fantastic job in support of ill or disabled family members and we hope the Santa Bus will raise lots of money to support the vital work of these two Young Carers organisations in our region.”

Parents and guardians who want their little ones to meet Santa will be asked for a minimum donation of £2.50 per child.

Swindon Young Carers provides a range of services for young carers who look after an ill or disabled family member in the Swindon borough, where there are approximately 21,000 unpaid carers of all ages, including children and young people.

Swindon Carers Centre provides them with much-needed support.

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