THE TOTAL amount of money raised through the Santa Bus has been revealed.

The beloved bus returned to the streets of Brighton and Hove after a one-year hiatus due to Covid-19.

The 19-night tour of the city helpe raised money for 12 charities.

A total of £26,767 was raised through the Santa Bus in 2021.

A Brighton and Hove Buses spokesman said: “And that’s thanks to all of you. From all 12 charities, thank you very much.”

The chosen Santa Bus charities for 2021 were: Albion in the Community, BHT Sussex, Brighton Sussex University Hospitals Charity, Chestnut Tree House, East Sussex Credit Union Foundation, Impact Initiatives, Martlets, Motor Neurone Disease Association, Racial Harassment Forum, Raystede Centre for Animal Welfare, Switchboard and Together Co.     

Brighton & Hove and Metrobus contributed £12k to the money raised.

For the first time in 17 years, the Santa Bus workers didn’t knock on front doors.

Instead, donations were made through GoFundMe, delivered to one of the 40 Santa Bus collection points or put in one of the helpers' buckets.

Brighton and Hove Buses’ Managing Director Ed Wills, who drove the Santa Bus one night, said it was a delight to see so many people smiling on the routes.

He said: “What a delight it was to drive the Santa Bus and to see so many people smiling and having a good time, especially after the last couple of years we've all had,” said Ed. 

“The Santa Bus is powered by the magic of people who give their time and money, and show support by coming out to give Santa a cheery wave on the night. I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has made the Santa Bus happen this year. It's a real team effort.   

“Colleagues from across Brighton & Hove and Metrobus, and their family and friends, volunteered almost 1,000 hours of their own time to get the Santa Bus ready and to keep it running over 18 nights. Their generosity and support has been overwhelming. 

“Local charities and organisations are the lifeblood of Brighton and Hove, supporting people when they most need help and giving advice all year round. I am so pleased their work has been recognised and that each charity will receive at least £2000. What a great piece of news to start 2022.” 

As in previous years, there was also an onboard Santa tracker so the public could keep up to date on his location.

The Santa Bus, originally launched by The Argus Appeal with Brighton and Hove Buses is now in its 19th year and run by Brighton and Hove Buses. The Argus remains the official media partner for the Santa Bus. It has raised £370k for local organisations since it began in 2004 and it's still going strong.   

More than 50 local businesses were part of the fundraising effort, most of them volunteering as Santa Bus collection points, while others donated their services, such as printing and distributing leaflets.  

The Santa Bus visited more than 200 streets in Brighton & Hove in the lead up to Christmas and it also made a special trip to visit children at Chestnut Tree children’s hospice in Arundel. One company, Paladone, donated more than 100 sensory light toys as Christmas presents for the children at the hospice.