Organisers of the Santa Bus are celebrating after it raised nearly £40,000 for charity.

The bus, covered in thousands of twinkling lights, toured Brighton and Hove over 20 nights in the run up to Christmas.

Santa was joined by his elves, teams of festive volunteers and some lucky competition winners while thousands of people who lined the routes and walked alongside as the bus travelled across the city with Santa waving from the top deck.

A whopping £37,620.05 was raised through nightly bucket collections, business collection points and an online Go Fund Me page.

To celebrate the bus's 20th anniversary, the money raised will go to 20 local charities, including Martlets, Chestnut Tree House, Sussex Homeless Support, Racial Harassment Forum, Team Domenica, Rainbow Fund and Moulsecoomb Forest Garden.

The overall total raised in the last 20 years now stands at £417,500 which has all gone to support Brighton and Sussex charities. 

Every evening 20 to 30 volunteers helped support the Santa Bus, which included colleagues from every department at Brighton and Hove Buses, businesses, charities and councillors.

Volunteers helped out for a total of 1,876 hours, including driving the bus, collecting donations, safety support and Santa’s onboard helpers.

Ed Wills, managing director of Metrobus and Brighton and Hove Buses, said: “What an incredible amount of money raised, especially during the present economic climate, and an overwhelming display of generosity from everyone who has supported and donated to Santa Bus charities.

“Over the last 20 years, the Santa Bus has become one of the city's most popular annual events so we are delighted to have again hosted Santa Claus and his elves on board one of our local buses. A huge thank you everyone who helps makes this happen, including the teams of nightly volunteers and everybody who comes out to donate and to give Santa and his helpers a festive wave."

Brighton and Hove Buses has already begun planning for the next Santa Bus tour this year and the dates and routes will be advertised in the autumn.