A bus driver from Shotton Colliery has raised over £1,000 for Bradley Lowery, a five-year-old boy from Blackhall battling neuroblastoma, after donating his time as part of a competition at Stagecoach North East.

Ian Thompson, 35, who has been a bus driver for the local bus operator for 14 years, decided to set up a competition for the bus depots in Sunderland and Hartlepool, with the chance for two bus drivers to win a day off work with pay, and he would cover their bus duties for the day.

Ian said: “I have been following Bradley’s plight on Facebook for a long time and my wife noticed that she had gone to school with Bradley’s parents. Bradley also lives in the next village to me, so the realisation of his new fight with cancer which returned in 2015 really hit home, and it made me want to do something to help.”

Through a raffle, bus drivers from the two depots were encouraged to donate as much as possible, with the chance to win a day’s paid leave and Ian would drive their shift.

Drivers Oz McCormack and Dale Crane from the Sunderland and Hartlepool depots were the lucky winners. While Oz generously donated her prize to fellow colleague bus driver, Carol Taylor, who is also battling cancer, Dale spent the day with his 2-year- old son and went to a football match at Hartlepool Football Club.

During his bus shift for Dale, Ian dressed up in a t-shirt with Bradley’s face, to help raise extra funds through donations from the passengers on the bus, and over the course of two weeks has since raised over £1,000 towards the cost of potentially life-saving treatment for Bradley in the USA.

Ian added: “It was a great atmosphere on the bus and customers were most generous when they heard who I was fundraising for. I just wanted to be able to help in some small way and do what I could to help Bradley in his fight.”

Laura Smith, Operations Manager at Stagecoach North East’s Sunderland depot, said:

“This was a really thoughtful gesture from Ian and we were more than happy to support him in his fundraising and organisation of the competition. At times like these it is amazing to see the generosity of the passengers who were more than willing to put their hands in their pockets for poorly Bradley.”

For further information about Stagecoach North East please visit www.stagecoachbus.com