SANTA BUS volunteers are celebrating raising a record amount of money for The Argus Appeal and The Martlets Hospice.

The Santa Bus 2016 raised an all-time record amount of £30,686.21 to be shared between the two charities.

The feat comes as The Argus Appeal celebrates 60 years of supporting people in the community and handing out thousands of pounds to good causes.

This year donations were through the roof thanks to £16,686.21 raised from door to door collections and match funding of £14,000 from Lloyds Banking Group City Park.

Elsa Gillio, The Argus Appeal coordinator, said: “It is fantastic this year we have raised the biggest amount in the history of the Santabus.

“It has come a such a long way since it began, and may it continue.

“The funds raised will help The Argus Appeal and The Martlets Hospice make a difference in helping to transform the lives of people in Sussex.”

The Santa Bus was born after The Appeal thought their grotto should be mobile and the idea took off after backing from the then Brighton and Hove Buses managing director Roger French.

Since it s first run in 2004, the Santa Bus has gone from strength to strength reaching more residents in the city, and for the first time in its thirteen year history this year residents were able to see the bus’s location in real-time online.

For several nights in the city over the festive period volunteers dressed as elves join Santa on a spectacularly-lit bus playing Christmas tunes.

The night could not happen without Brighton and Hove buses providing the bus driver, fuel and volunteers, along with Lloyds Banking Group and Legal and General.

Volunteers gathered at Donatello restaurant for some celebratory pizza kindly hosted by owner Sue Addis.

Santa bus volunteer Becky Gilruth said: “It was fun to get into the Christmas spirit and see people rushing out to see the Santa Bus.

Tony Portelli, chairman of The Argus Appeal Trustees and managing director of The Argus said: “I am delighted the Santa Bus 2016 has raised a record amount of £30,686.21.

“This is thanks to the invaluable support of Brighton and Hove Buses volunteers who take to the streets in all weathers and knocking on doors.

“Also thanks to Lloyds, have continued to generously match fund the amount raised.”