Wise-cracking Black Country bus driver proves charity is no joke
National Express assistant ops manager Richard Smith, driver Steve Bradbury, Fundraising Manager Karen Phillips, MD Peter Coates with fundraising driver David Gerrard
A wise-cracking Black Country bus driver is free to crack gags again after steering clear of one-liners for charity.
But what gave Dave Gerrard the biggest smile was the £915 he raised for the Birmingham Dogs Home and the Neonatal Critical Care Unit at Russells Hall Hospital.
The 73-year-old has raised thousands for charity over the years through various mad-cap endeavours and first did his sponsored joke-stop in 2010.
He said: "It is so hard for me not to crack any jokes to my work colleagues at our National Express depot at Pensnett.
"To be silenced for two months was a big challenge for me because I am joking all of the time normally but animal cruelty is no laughing matter so I wanted to raise money for Birmingham Dogs Home.
"And anyone who has been to Russells Hall Hospital will know why we raised money for the NCCU. They do amazing work there."
Big-hearted bus drivers, staff as well as family and friends raised £700 for Dave's no-joke-zone, the National Express Employee Charity Panel donated £150 and £65 was raised through a Christmas jumper bucket collection.
Dave said: "I was delighted to present a cheque for £450 to Jilly Rivers at the dogs home and saw first hand the work that goes on by the dedicated staff at the home.
"I know our donation will help stray dogs in the region find loving new homes and a happier tomorrow."
He added: "Then a team of us from National Express went to Russells Hall Hospital to hand over a cheque for £465 and saw the dedication of the nurses towards new born babies. It was a very moving experience."
Managing director of National Express West Midlands Peter Coates congratulated the veteran bus driver for his efforts.
He said: "As a bus driver Dave has been transporting our passengers for decades but he works tirelessly to give something back to the community.
"He puts in a tremendous amount of time and effort to support local charitable causes and I was delighted to accompany him to Russells Hall to hand over the cheque."