FATHER Christmas swapped his reindeer and sleigh for a bus to bring a festive smile to passengers young and old.

Disguised by his red suit, festive hat and white fluffy beard, Jimmy Gregson says he just wants to “put a smile of people’s faces”.

The 63-year-old bus driver from Leigh has been sitting at the wheel dressed as Father Christmas every year for 15 years.

Each year, for the two week period before Christmas, he dons the costume his wife Denise made for him and fills his sack full of lollies and gets behind the wheel to deliver Christmas cheer around the town.

Mr Gregson, a father-of-three, drives on a number of bus routes from South Lancs Travel's Hindsford depot.

He said: “When you see the little ones, and the expression on their faces as they look up and see Santa looking down at them, they are gobsmacked.

“That is what I do it for and I have my lollies at the ready to give to the kids.

“You get one or two adults who crack up laughing and say it is the last thing they expected to see and you see the smiles on their faces.

“I enjoy it, it helps get you through the day. I think the majority of people who get the South Lancs bus will have seen me at one stage or another.”

Mr Gregson, who has been a bus driver for over 40 years, wore a Santa costume a few times during his time working for First Bus but since he joined South Lancs it has become a tradition.

He said most people were happy to see him in his costume, but he tried to avoid the school run as he youths had given him abuse in the past.