Bus-mad Jack launches the return of Go North East's Santa Bus for 2022

1 year ago Sat 17th Dec 2022

Jack Thompson on Santa Bus

Bus-mad schoolboy Jack Thompson was given the best Christmas present of all this week, with an exclusive 'behind the scenes' tour of Go North East's Gateshead Riverside depot.

Fourteen-year-old Jack, who lives in Gateshead, was just four months old when he was diagnosed with a brain tumour on his optic nerve which has left him registered blind. He's undergone several rounds of chemotherapy and had numerous hospital stays, but Jack says he is the happiest boy in the world and takes pride in passing his optimism onto others and raising money for charity.

When Jack's nana, Elaine, of Washington, got in touch with us to tell us that Jack's Christmas wish was to have a tour of our Gateshead Riverside depot, we went one step further and asked if Jack wanted to officially launch the magical Santa Bus, which returns for its annual week-long tour of the region, from Monday 19 December.

Nana Elaine said: "I'd like to thank Go North East for taking the time to give Jack a tour of the bus depot and the Santa Bus. This has been the best Christmas present that Jack could have ever hoped for, and he'll never forget this day. We'll be out on Monday night to give Santa and his elves a wave!"

Jack has been raising funds since he was seven-years-old for charities CLIC Sargent and Heel & Toe, and is now raising funds for the Dreamflight charity. 

Dreamflight is a UK charity that changes young lives through taking children with a serious illness or disability, without their parents, on the holiday of a lifetime to Orlando, Florida. Dreamflight believes that fun & joy are just as important as medical research & equipment - especially for children who perhaps can't wait long enough for the breakthrough they need or whose illnesses & treatments have brought pain, distress & disruption to their lives.

Jack had an amazing time with Dreamflight in October, and wants to help other children have the same opportunity.

Commenting on the tour, Go North East's Commercial Development Manager, Dan Graham, said: "The Go North East Santa Bus is ran by non-driving staff volunteers to spread joy and cheer to children and their families in our communities, a tradition which began during Covid when it was the only way to see Santa. We were blown away by how popular the Santa Bus open-top tour was last year, and we can't wait to get started again, seeing all those smiling faces as we pass through the region’s villages, towns and cities.

"This year, we'd like to help Jack with his fundraising efforts. The magical Santa Bus open-top tour is free to watch, but we would really encourage the community to help other children like Jack by donating towards his GoFundMe fundraiser for Dreamflight."


The region’s largest bus company will be running the tour each day from 19 December until 23 December. Just like last year, the Santa bus tour will not stop at any of the locations but will be moving slow enough to get your photos and videos.

Don't forget to share them on social media using #GNESantaBus.

You can make a donation to the Dreamflight charity on Jack's GoFundMe fundraiser by clicking here.


Santa tracker

This year, you will be able to go one step further with Go North East’s very own Santa tracker – simply download the Go North East app and track the bus in real-time moving across the region’s villages, towns and cities.

Go North East Santa bus tour – locations and timetables

  • Monday 19 December – South Tyneside and Gateshead; serving East Boldon, West Boldon, Boldon Colliery, Whiteleas Estate, Harton Nook, Marsden, Horsley Hill Square, Westoe, Simonside, South Leam Estate, Hedworth, Fellgate Estate, Jarrow, Hebburn, Monkton Lane Estate, Heworth, Felling, Low Fell, Kibblesworth, Birtley and Barley Mow – view timetable and map
  • Tuesday 20 December – Washington and Sunderland; serving Concord, Donwell, Blackfell, Oxclose, Lambton, Ayton, Rickleton, Harraton, Fatfield, Washington Galleries, Barmston, Hylton Castle, Town End Farm, Downhill, Witherwack, Pallion, Silksworth, Ryhope and Grangetown – view timetable and map
  • Wednesday 21 December – North Tyneside and Newcastle; serving Howdon, Percy Main, North Shields, Tynemouth, Marden Estate, Cullercoats, Whitley Bay, Monkseaton, New York, Hadrian Park, Battle Hill, Hadrian Lodge, Wallsend, Walkergate, Byker and Newcastle City Centre – view timetable and map
  • Thursday 22 December – County Durham; serving Sunderland City Centre, Penshaw, Shiney Row, Bournmoor, Great Lumley, Chester-le-Street, Pelton, Ouston, Urpeth Grange, Newfield, Grange Villa, Stanley, Annfield Plain, Leadgate, Blackhill, Bridgehill, Consett, Moorside, Delves, Lanchester, Witton Gilbert, Durham City Centre and Gilesgate – view timetable and map
  • Friday 23 December – Gateshead; serving Wardley, Leam Lane Estate, Springwell Estate, Springwell Village, Wrekenton, Easedale Gardens, Windy Nook, Felling, Gateshead, Bensham, Dunston, Whickham, Swalwell, Winlaton, Blaydon, Ryton and Crawcrook – view timetable and map

The schedule is subject to change – follow Go North East’s Facebook and Twitter pages for the latest updates.