Arriva drivers shocked about “customers with nothing” uses week off to help them.


Big-hearted Neil Atherton, 41 years old and stationed at Arriva’s runcorn depot, completed seven hikes in seven days, covering a total of 150 miles – the equivalent of walking from Liverpool One to downtown Luton.

A bus driver from Widnes spent his vacation week walking the entire length of seven bus routes to raise money for sick customers.

Neil Atherton said it had become increasingly clear in recent months how many customers were experiencing difficulties.

Supported by rotating teams of colleagues, family members and friends, Neil completed the 110, 61, 79C, 82A, X30, 3A and Runcorn 1 bus route, breaking the pain barrier as different people spoke to him.

He said he had realized in recent months that some of his clients were struggling in abject poverty and “have nothing” who “need help more than ever”.

At the time of writing, Cirque du Sore Legs had raised more than 4,300 pounds for the Trussell Trust, which operates food banks nationwide.

At the end of the campaign, he also received a message from Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram welcoming his “fantastic” action.

They took him from Runcorn to Chester, Liverpool city center via Speke, Liverpool via Whiston, Liverpool via Widnes and Cronton and on an eight-way around Runcorn.

These were all seven routes that Arriva drove from his Beechwood depot in Runcorn.

He said that after walking the challenge, which took eight hours, he realized how long the routes, which normally take two and a half hours by bus, actually were.

Neil has already won the national Arriva “Made a Difference” and “Ultimate Champion” bus driver of the year awards.

The idea for the walk hatched about a month ago during a conversation with a relative – anticipating the wave of awareness about food poverty that was triggered by the English international and Manchester United footballer Marcus Rashford.

But although his knees are still recovering from the challenge, Neil is already hatching plans for his next fundraiser – a charity raffle with prizes such as a baseball bat signed by the captain of the European Cup and Liverpool FC Liverpool FC and England international Jordan Henderson.

he said: “Because of my work we serve the communities, we see things.

“They went a little wrong, I could see that.

“I have a 16-year-old daughter – luckily my wife and I work and we have family support from my mother and my father and her mother and her father.

“People say things like ‘good that they have phones’ – these kids have nothing.


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