Thanks to the generosity of their colleagues, family and friends, a group of Lothian drivers handed over a cheque for £2,200 to Pets As Therapy in memory of fellow driver Joanna Toni, who sadly passed away last year.
The group embarked upon a round trip of the 12 main football grounds in the Scottish Premiership in just over 24 hours. The drivers including Jo’s brother in law, Bobby Donald who works at Lothian’s Longstone garage, began their journey at Hibernian’s Easter Road before finishing at Tynecastle, home to Hearts Football Club the following day.
At each stop on their tour, drivers were presented with complimentary tickets, memorabilia and signed gifts. These items were then auctioned off at a charity night in Joanna’s honour.
Wes Murdiff, Bus Driver at Lothian’s Central garage and organiser of the event said: “Jo was a great colleague and friend to many across our garages. Her passing left a massive hole in everyone’s lives. Her two great loves in life were pets and football, and we were pleased to raise over £2200 for Pets As Therapy in her memory. We were overwhelmed with the generosity of our colleagues and the warmth of each club who welcomed us into their ground with opens arms.”
Yvonne Gosling, Volunteer Area Co-ordinator and Assessor, Pets As Therapy added: “We were all extremely pleased and honoured to come along to accept this cheque on behalf of the charity and to meet Jo’s family and colleagues. Pets As Therapy are a National charity with over 6,000 teams of volunteers sharing their temperament assessed dogs and cats in Hospitals, Hospice, Schools, Care Homes, Day centres, etc. bringing love and comfort wherever they go.”
Joanna’s colleagues also hosted a charity football match, in which teams played in her old Leith Athletic colours.
Jim Small, Chief Operating Officer for Lothian said: “Jo’s passing touched everyone across Lothian and we were delighted to be able to support our driving team in their efforts to raise funds for Pets As Therapy. Lothian is very much a family business and we are proud that our team could come together to remember a much loved colleague.”