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First Aberdeen and its drivers get on board with CLAN

Local bus operator, First Aberdeen, has revealed a unique new initiative designed to support local charities. Each year the company has pledged to paint one of its buses in the colours of a local good cause. First Aberdeen said that the decision which charity to back each year will be made by its employees.

In order to mark the launch of the new charitable initiative, First Aberdeen unveiled two ‘charity buses’ with each sporting the colours, logos and messages of local charity, CLAN Cancer Support.

CLAN was selected by First Aberdeen colleagues and members of the local Unite the Union branch. Mike Flinn, a bus driver for First Aberdeen, is also Convener of the First Aberdeen Unite the Union branch. He said: “Unfortunately, we’ve lost a number of colleagues over the years to cancer, so the decision to transform two of our buses into CLAN branded vehicles was a popular one.

“I suffered from skin cancer in 2012 and have fortunately since made a full recovery. At the time I wasn’t aware of CLAN’s services. Looking back, I know they could have benefited me and my family at what was a very difficult time. I personally think it’s really important that we help raise awareness of the fantastic services it provides.”

Mike’s colleagues at First Aberdeen have also backed CLAN through a unique scheme. First Aberdeen employees are given the option of having a health cash plan as one of their company benefits. By having the HSF health plan, First Aberdeen employees get a range of benefits to help with the cost of everyday healthcare and simply by belonging to HSF health plan make a contribution to the important work of the charity. The profit from HSF health plan is donated to its parent charity The Hospital Saturday Fund. The charity has donated £1000 to CLAN while First Aberdeen and Unite the Union have donated £500 each.

To celebrate the CLAN bus and the support provided by HSF health plan and The Hospital Saturday Fund, First Aberdeen and Unite the Union and 30 school children from Elrick Primary School visited First today for a packed lunch and a tour of the depot.

Duncan Cameron, managing director of First Aberdeen, said: “I’m delighted that working in partnership with local Unite the Union officials we’ve been able to bring our ‘Charity Bus’ project to life. The bus will support a local charity each year, chosen by my colleagues at First Aberdeen, and will help support the local communities we serve.”

Susan Crighton, CLAN’s fundraising manager, said: “We are incredibly grateful to be the first local charity to benefit from this new initiative and I’d like to personally thank First Bus for its generous support. We can’t wait to see the CLAN bus making its way around Aberdeen and it really will play a big part in allowing our key messages to reach people within the city.

“It’s fantastic that pupils from Elrick Primary School have been able to come along for a tour of the First depot, as it really is our way of saying thank you for all their hardwork and efforts in fundraising for CLAN. The recipe book that the pupils designed and published was fantastic and we were delighted to hear that it had been so popular.”

Paul Jackson, Chief Executive, from The Hospital Saturday Fund, said: “We were delighted that a grant application from CLAN has grown into more support for this brilliant charity. It underlines the way that our trading company HSF health plan, the companies we work with and the policyholders who benefit from the plan can also benefit the community in which they live.

ENDS

For any further information, please contact Niall Dowds, First UK Bus Head of External Communications, on 01224 650011 or 07860 936671 or email niall.dowds@firstgroup.com

NOTES TO EDITORS

First Aberdeen is the largest bus operator in the city. More than 175 buses transport around 50,000 people every day across Aberdeen. The company operates from its King Street bus depot and employs more than 500 staff. For more information visit www.firstaberdeen.com

First Aberdeen is part of FirstGroup, the leading transport operator in the UK and North America. www.firstgroup.com

First Bus and First ScotRail are proud to be official supporters of the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, providing passenger rail and bus services.

CLAN Cancer Support is an independent charity which provides comfort support and information, free of charge, for anyone, of any age, affected by any type of cancer. CLAN aims to support people to reduce anxiety, stress and to increase their ability to cope with the effects of a serious illness. Based in Aberdeen, the charity covers the whole of north-east Scotland, Moray, Orkney and Shetland. CLAN has a presence in Ballater, Banchory, Elgin, Inverurie, Fraserburgh, Peterhead, Stonehaven, Kirkwall and Lerwick.

For further information about CLAN Cancer Support please call (01224) 647000 or visit www.clanhouse.org

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