TOPICS: Bus brings festive cheer to customers

MUM'S little helper Amy Saper is revving the engine of the Christmas Bus in Newcastle this year.

Ms Saper has been driving the bus, which was instigated by her mum Margaret Pannell 15 years ago, from the Hamilton depot and along Newcastle streets.

"Mum had a wrist operation last year so a few of the other drivers started to help out," Ms Saper said.

The 26-year-old has been driving buses for four years and is a third generation driver after her mother and grandfather.

"I love seeing people wave and the looks on little kids' faces as you drive past," Ms Saper said of the Christmas Bus.

This year Ms Pannell has been busy training other drivers but she still spent a day decorating the bus and can be spotted behind the wheel on weekends.

Her idea for the bus originated from wanting to cheer up elderly passengers who had lost loved ones and were finding Christmas difficult.

The concept has been broadened to include taking donations for the Mater Hospital and close to $2000 is raised each season.

Topics, who received several calls about the Christmas Bus doing the rounds before we spotted it ourselves, decided to see what all the fuss was about.

Just a few seconds underneath a parachuting Santa and stroking nearby tinsel and we were already feeling chirpier.

Southern Cross TV made a documentary called The Christmas Bus in 2005.

From beam and bars to indigenous dance

NEWCASTLE teen Jordan O’Davis has hit the Central Coast stage looking more like a dancer than a gymnast.

The Aboriginal dancer was one of the youngest performers to be accepted into the National Aboriginal Islander Skills Development Association’s dance college on the Central Coast and she began a four-year diploma this year.

Tonight she will perform the final show in the company’s latest production Morning Star at Gosford’s Laycock Street Theatre. 

Jordan began performing Aboriginal dance through a performance troupe at the Hunter School of Performing Arts three years ago.

The 16-year-old was a national level gymnast and attended a tournament in Hawaii.

‘‘I retired from gymnastics when I was about 14. That’s when I started moving into dance,’’ she said. 

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