Hastings taxi driver and Bexhill pub owner unite to help struggling families this Christmas

A taxi driver and a Bexhill pub owner have teamed up to offer free rides to Christmas events for families with disabled children and adults.
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Jay Jones and Lewis Collins, from The New Inn in Sidley, said they decided to set up the venture to help struggling families amid the cost-of-living crisis.

They have also set up a fundraising page on Gofundme as part of their campaign, which is also to help take struggling families to any Christmas-themed events in the area at no cost.

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Jay said: “I started doing this at Christmas time last year, offering to take struggling families or families with disabled children or adults, just as a kind gesture and to give something positive to the people at a time when a lot are struggling.

Jay Jones and Lewis CollinsJay Jones and Lewis Collins
Jay Jones and Lewis Collins

“I managed to raise just over £300, which I gave to Dom’s Food Mission, a foodbank charity and also bought a handful of gifts for people I had the pleasure of meeting in my taxi, who I knew were struggling.

“I thought I would do the same this year but I am going to try and raise £1,000 pounds if that is possible. I have been in touch with a nurse at the Conquest Hospital in Hastings from the children's ward and decided to use the money this year to buy gifts, toys and presents for all the children who will be spending Christmas in hospital this year.

“I plan to meet with the nurses at the hospital for a chat to see what sort of gifts we can get and how many.”

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So far more than £600 has been raised on the Gofundme page Jay and Lewis have set up.

Jay Jones with two nurses from the children's ward at the Conquest HospitalJay Jones with two nurses from the children's ward at the Conquest Hospital
Jay Jones with two nurses from the children's ward at the Conquest Hospital

Jay added he will be running his free taxi service until Christmas Eve.

He said: “Sadly I can’t take electric chairs in the taxi but standard wheelchairs can be folded up and put into the car boot. If this is something anyone or a friend or family member would like to arrange please message me so we can plan a date and time.”

Jay and Lewis’ fundraising page can be found at www.gofundme.com/f/making-smiles-this-xmas.