Children at Buddies Clubs and Services set off for an adventure in their brand new coach – an hour after it was presented to the organisation by Alastair Stewart of the Bingo Association and the celebrated ex Scottish footballer Gordon Smith.

There also to help handover the minibus was Carole Sherriff from Carlton Bingo Partick, David Pearson of Club 3000, Clydebank and Duncan Anderson from Mecca Bingo, Drumchapel. Officially known as a Variety Sunshine Coach, the bus has now replaced the school’s 13 year old minibus ‘Daisy’.

Jane Hook, the Chief Executive of Buddies, said:

“Everyone at Buddies is delighted to have our new mini bus. Our previous Variety mini bus ‘Daisy’ had been with us since 2005 and was much loved by everyone but she has been really rather ‘unwell’ over the last 5 years and we all knew she had to retire and have a rest. After the sadness of saying goodbye to ‘Daisy’ the children and young people are delighted at the new arrival. The mini bus is a vital component in our services and many of the young people would not be able to access services without this facility. We only have one mini bus and it has been a difficult time for all with ‘Daisy’ being constantly ‘sick’. We are looking forward to having great fun with our lovely new bus!”

The Sunshine Coach, a 17 seater with a tail lift, is the 14th donated by the Bingo Association in the last three years, thanks to the fundraising efforts of the bingo industry, their staff and customers. The organisation has now raised more than £1million for Variety.

Alastair Stewart, Head of Strategy and Development at the Bingo Association, said:

“More than 350 bingo clubs across the UK made this very worthy donation of a Sunshine Coach possible and so I must thank the staff and bingo players for their support. As an industry we are delighted to be able to help more children get the most out of their childhood and reach their unique potential.”

Fundraising activities at Carlton Bingo Partick, Club 3000, Clydebank and Mecca Bingo, Drumchapel helped Buddies to secure the much needed new minibus.

Gordon Smith said:

“I love Variety and I know about Buddies. I was happy to do the Sunshine Coach presentation as I know just how valuable an asset the coach will be for the children Buddies serves.”

Colleen Ettridge, Head of Fundraising at Variety, the Children’s Charity said:

“We have been overwhelmed by the generosity of the Bingo Association, its members and customers. Variety Sunshine Coaches enable children and young people with special needs to get the most out of school life by accessing learning and recreational facilities outside of the school environment.”