Arriva driver raises over £5,000 on charity walk

Neil Atherton performs “Cirque Du Sore Legs”, a 150 mile walk to raise money for food banks in his home region

Arriva bus driver Neil Atherton, based at our Runcorn depot, completed seven walks in seven days, covering 150 miles in total to raise money and awareness for The Trussell Trust.

The Trussell Trust is a charity that supports a network of over 1,200 food banks which provide emergency food and compassionate, practical support to people in crisis, while campaigning for long-term change to the structural issues that lock people into poverty.

Neil commented he was inspired to take action and fundraise for the charity after noticing in recent months that some of his regular customers were struggling and “have nothing” and “need the help more than ever”.

He stated: “Because of the job I do, we serve communities, we see things. I could see something was wrong.”

Supported along the way by colleagues, family and friends, Neil completed the 110, 61, 79C, 82A, X30, 3A, and the Runcorn 1 busway circular, taking him from Runcorn to Chester, Liverpool city centre via Speke, Liverpool via Whiston, Liverpool via Widnes and Cronton.

It took Neil 40 hours and 30mins to complete his walking challenge, which during the time he commented he was surprised how long the routes actually were by foot, noting the vast difference in time it took for him to normally complete the routes by bus.

Neil documented his walk and fundraising efforts across our Arriva North West Facebook and North West Twitter accounts, receiving incredible words of support and donations from members of the public and colleagues.

Setting out with the goal to raise £100 for The Trussell Trust, Neil quickly smashed his fundraising target and has collected (at the time of writing) £5,585 in donations.

Neil, who has previously won the national Arriva 'Make a Difference' and 'Ultimate Champion' Bus Driver of the Year award, is an incredible inspiration to all of his Arriva co-workers.  

Commenting on the response he received from the general public, as well as the supporting message from the Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram, Neil commented: “It’s fantastic, I am still overwhelmed with all the support I got!”

“I’d like to say thank you so much to the people of Merseyside for their enormous generosity and to everyone who supported me along the way.

“Your encouragement got me through and made me realise that even though times are hard, the unbelievable kindness of the people of Merseyside will get us through the other side.”

Neil also thanked his “amazing” support team: Angela Atherton, Gill Mercer, Sharron Bellfield, Arriva's managing director for engineering in the North Phil Cummins, Sophie Cummins, Mark Wady, Stephen McCann, Neil Egerton, Bob Antrobus, Ian Walker, Alan Pedley, John Cobourne, “main man” Tommy Hanratty, Gary Robertson, Mark Atherton, Paul Darlington, Alan Ratchford, Michael Dally, John Hollins, Antony Caldwell, Alfie Nickson, Mark Boswell, Colin Stewart, Andy Clarke, Danny Smith and Jay Drummond.

Donate to Neil’s fundraiser at his JustGiving page here.

A huge well-done Neil!

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