Traditionally, it’s Santa and his sleigh that delivers Christmas presents but kind-hearted taxi drivers have been hailed festive heroes by their boss as they donated hundreds of presents to poorly children staying in hospital.

More than 250 presents were delivered to nursing staff at the Great North Children’s Hospital in Newcastle by a fleet of taxis from Gateshead based LA Dean Taxis.

As the owner of the region’s largest taxi firm, Rob Armstrong was very proud of his team who had organised the collection of presents and the delivery to six children’s wards at the hospital.

“This is an amazing thing that the lads and lasses at LA Dean have done for the children who are being looked after in hospital at this time of year. They’ve all went the extra mile and I am very, very proud of their thoughtfulness and generosity.

“We have a long tradition of helping charities and good causes at LA Dean and at Christmas, I can’t think of what it must be like to spend time in hospital as a child, so this gesture is very rewarding for myself and my wonderful team of drivers and office staff.”

Indeed, driver Kev Pyle explains why he wanted to help. “As a taxi driver, we do a lot of patient transport runs to the region’s hospitals and very often we see poorly children and it sometimes hits you hard when you see what they are going through. All of our drivers feel the same way and we wanted to do something to say that we care about them.”

LA Dean manager Emma Satterthwaite added: “At this time of year, a small gift to a child who is feeling poorly in hospital will go a long way towards raising a much-needed smile. I’m amazed at the fact that in just two month’s we’ve collected more than 250 presents with a value of around £2,000. Everyone in the office and on the road is buzzing about it and we are already planning what we will be doing next year.”