Charity Christmas float on tour raising money for local hospital Emergency Department

A Christmas float that has been raising money for charity in the city for over 30 years will once again be touring the streets of north Bristol this month, thanks to a son’s determination to carry on his father’s good work.

Stefan Payne, 30, of Olverston, has taken over the construction and running of the Southmead Hospital Charity float from his father, Roger, who started it along with his friend Paul Wills back in the late ‘70s.  Now, Stefan and a group of friends decorate the float and take it out to raise money in their spare time.

“I took the float over when I was 17.” Explains Stefan.  “It was going to be cancelled and I thought that was such a shame so with the help of my friends I’ve managed to keep it going.

“This year we’ve rebuilt the float to have a fresh Christmas theme, along with a new sound system and new lighting so it will be even better and brighter than before!” adds Stefan. “I’m grateful to everyone who volunteers to help prepare the float throughout the year, and who help on the evenings when we’re out and about with it.”

Over the years the float has raised over £200,000 and this year’s collection will be for Southmead Hospital’s Emergency Department (ED) where Stefan works as an Emergency Care Assistant.

“My Dad was from Frenchay and originally the float collected money for Frenchay Hospital.  Now, the money goes towards Southmead Hospital.  I work in the Emergency Department there and want our collection to support the amazing work that I see happening there every day.”

Local company Equine Paddock Maintenance has helped ensure the float’s continued existence as it now donates use of a tractor and driver along with free storage for the float throughout the year.

The float will be visiting Bradley Stoke this Saturday 9th December and Stoke Gifford next Friday 15th December.

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