BIG hearted bus driver David Gerrard has been busy raising money for Birmingham Dogs Home again this Christmas.

It's the fourth year running that the veteran driver has dug deep for the dogs by collecting cash from fellow staff at based at the National Express depot in Pensnett.

David, who is 72 and from Churchill Drive in Wordsley, hopes to raise in excess of £300 this time.

He said: “For the past three years, we've bought dog food for the dogs home, which has now moved from Digbeth to Catherine-de-Barnes, but this year, we're giving them the money, because they can buy the food much cheaper than we can.

“People have dogs for Christmas and then get fed up with them and kick the dogs out. It's a wicked, wicked, shame.

“I went to Birmingham Dogs' Home late last January. While I was there, they brought in a van load of unwanted dogs. It was heartbreaking.”

He has been supported in his quest this year by Tesco's superstore in Stourbridge who have donated a cuddly puppy teddy toy for a competition to be held amongst the drivers and staff at Pensnett.

David has been raising money for charities over the past 15 years ranging from the Air Ambulance to Help for Heroes.

He said: “I must have raised £25,000 during that time, but I couldn't do it without the support of my fellow drivers, they've been very good. They must dread it when they see me coming, because I'm always collecting for something.

“This year, we've been collecting for the Neo Natal Unit at Russells Hall hospital, which is our chosen charity - but I couldn't let the dogs down.

“The amount of food we obtained for them last year stretched until the end of February.”

David, who has been driving buses for the past 49 years and is set to retire next April, has won awards for his charity work.

He added: “I love the job, that's why I've been driving for so long. They've even named a bus after me. I was chuffed to bits at that!”