Two coaches went to Wimborne’s Beaucroft Foundation School and the other to Bethany Junior School in Boscombe. The three magnificent coaches were bought with a whopping donation of nearly £100,000 from the BC Club, a group of local businessmen who have supported Variety Wessex in many ways in recent years. More than twenty of the forty members of the club attended the event.

Frances Cornelius, chair of Variety Wessex, third right, and Shan Seewooruthun, chairman of the BC Club ready to present the Sunshine Coaches to Beaucroft Foundation School, pictured with school representatives and members of the BC Club.

Frances Cornelius, chair of Variety Wessex, thanked Shan Seewooruthun, chairman of the BC Club, and all the members, saying:

Thank you all so much for your love and care for the thousands of children that we all work together to support. The children’s lives are transformed by your generosity and the experiences your donations have enabled give them amazing memories that they will treasure for the rest of their lives.

Much of the money presented was raised during COVID-19 restrictions via challenges using an old black taxi-cab. The taxi has become well known in the business community as all the club members had to fulfil tasks and forfeits. Each week a different BC Club member had the taxi. They had to pay £250 for the privilege of driving the cab and would be ‘fined’ if discovered using any other mode of transport. Initially the club hoped to raise £15,000 but the success of the project far outstripped this ambition. Since then the 40 members have raised more than £150,000 and fundraising has continued.

The Sunshine Coach presentation was held at the premises of one of the BC Club members. As there was not enough room at the schools’ car parks for three big Sunshine Coaches, a group of businessmen and their cars, space was made at the DWP Housing Partnership depot. Even then it was a tight squeeze to get the three sizeable coaches lined up for the photographs. Luckily the rain held off and the formal presentation of the vehicles, speeches and votes of thanks all went ahead without any need for umbrellas.

Not to miss an opportunity, the fact it was St Patrick’s Day gave a chance to raise some extra charity funds. Shan Seewooruthun and his deputy Steve Wells had some amusing penalties for their members that included ‘fining’ those not wearing a green tie and in addition there was a penalty for tatty shoes. All this money would be put into the BC Club charity kitty.

Frances Cornelius, chair of Variety Wessex, second left, and Shan Seewooruthun, chairman of the BC Club, third left, ready to present the Sunshine Coach to representatives from Bethany Junior School pictured with members of the BC Club.

Shan Seewooruthun, chairman of the BC Club said:

Variety were able to advise the best way to support their charity work. In the end it seemed fitting that the money raised by our members via the old taxi should fund some rather more modern modes of transport. We are delighted to have been able to fund these three Sunshine Coaches.

Diane Makariou, co-head of Beaucroft School, said:

This will make a huge difference to the school and will enable us to offer much more to the children. A big thank you to Variety and the BC Club.

Steve Brielby, deputy head of Bethany School, said:

We have many children whose lives will be greatly improved by our being able to take them out on trips in the Sunshine Coach.