A FAMOUS red double decker London bus that has visited countless charity events is finally retiring.

After 12 years, St Luke's Hospice bus is being taken off the road.

Luke the bus has been home to Santa in his magical grotto for the past four years, visiting more than 100 schools, nurseries and Christmas light switch on events.

For years the vehicle helped to raise awareness for the hospice at hundreds of community events including many fairs and fetes.

Raffles, tombola and sweet stalls, a gin bar and mobile clothes shop are just some of the many activities it has hosted.

Warehouse manager Simon Armitage, who often drove the bus, said: “Wherever it turned up it always got a smile, it’s an iconic image.

"I found it quite tough to drive at first but as I got used to it I quite liked driving it around. It always got a reaction.”

The bus celebrated the close relationship between the hospice and Bentley Motors in Crewe who renovated and re-furbished the double decker on several occasions.

St Lukes Hospice bus hosted various fundraising events over the years

St Luke's Hospice bus hosted various fundraising events over the years

Their specialist support has helped keep the bus going for many years.

Sally Hepton, director of government relations and CSR at Bentley Motors Ltd, said: “Bentley colleagues were delighted to support the refurbishment of Luke the bus over his lifetime.

"Luke has played a great role raising awareness of the wonderful work St Luke’s do for the local community and has earned his retirement.

"Thanks to all at the hospice for their commitment and care and I wish everyone best wishes for the future.”

The hospice would like to thank its many volunteer drivers who gave up their time over the years to take the bus around the local community.