A team of Stagecoach bus drivers got tough and muddy to raise money for a local special needs children’s charity.

The ten-strong team raised over £2,000 for the Herne Bay charity, called SNAAP (Special Needs Advisory and Activities Project), which provides services for children with special needs and their families.

The ten Stagecoach Tough Mudders in action (left to right): Darren Crippen, Matt Ryder, Mark Huckstep, Rob Istead, Chris Epps, Matt Amos, Sean Gibbons, Gareth Newton, Jack Brooks and Lee Connor.

The fundraising effort was organised by bus driver Lee Connor, who inspired his colleagues to take part in the grueling 10 mile ‘Tough Mudder’ obstacle course. Lee, father of five who has been a bus driver for nearly four years, had the idea after he got talking to a member of SNAAP staff at a bus stop.

“I’m just about to turn 40 and I was thinking about doing something that I’d never done before. One morning I was waiting at a bus stop and got talking to a SNAAP worker, Lizzie, who told me all about the charity and that they really needed some help raising funds. She inspired me to do it for them” said Lee.

The team successfully completed the London West Tough Mudder in May and managed to raise over £1,500 in sponsorship. Stagecoach boss, Joel Mitchell, was so impressed by the team effort he stepped in to arrange for the company to top-up the amount by a further £500.

Stagecoach Managing Director Joel Mitchell (right) with Stagecoach Tough Mudders Matt Ryder (left of cheque) and Lee Conner (right of cheque) presenting a giant cheque to SNAAP Manager Carrie Wood (centre of cheque) with SNAAP staff Sam Harmison, Sarah Shelby-Bird and Natalie Harris.

The charity, based at the Windchimes centre on Reynolds Close, Herne Bay, was started in 2003 with a mission to help provide much-needed services and support for local children with every kind of special need.

SNAAP Manager, Carrie Wood said “As a small charity we rely solely on fundraising and donations. Support from our local community means a lot to us and this money will really help us to make a difference to local children with special needs. Big thanks to Stagecoach and the team for what they’ve done.”

The Stagecoach Tough Mudder squad hope to repeat their efforts again next year with a mission to raise even more money for the charity. The team of ten are all based at Stagecoach’s Canterbury and Herne Bay depot.

About SNAAP:

  • SNAAP is a unique local charity which provides an extensive range of services to children with every kind of disability, aged from 0-25 years, in partnership with parents.
  • The charity focuses on all of the child’s needs including educational, social, developmental and emotional and also supports the child’s whole family.
  • The project was started in 2003 by a group of parents who wanted to make a difference and realised that they were not alone in feeling isolated and frustrated. With the help of Contact a Family, who carried out a consultation that highlighted a lack of support and information and also very little leisure opportunities for disabled children, SNAAP was born.
  • SNAAP’s Manager, Carrie Wood, is one of those founding members who has helped make SNAAP the amazing charity that it is today.
  • SNAAP is a needs-led organisation that listens to its families and develops its services to meet those needs.
  • At the heart of SNAAP lies a fundamental belief in informed parental choice, empowering parents to access the very best services and support to ensure that their children achieve their goals in life.

About Stagecoach:

  • Stagecoach is one of the biggest bus operators in the UK, running around 7,000 vehicles in nearly 100 towns and cities in the UK.
  • Stagecoach Group’s headquarters are in Perth, Scotland, where it began operating in 1980 with just two buses. The company floated on the London Stock Exchange in 1993 and now has an annual turnover of around £1.2 billion.
  • Stagecoach South East is one of 18 locally managed companies within Stagecoach Group.
  • Stagecoach South East headquarters are in Canterbury and the company currently runs over 470 buses and coaches, employs over 1,200 staff and carries over 42 million passengers per annum.