The Chief Executive of Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity turned bus tour guide as part of her ‘Challenge 50’ Birthday celebrations to raise vital funds for families caring for a seriously ill child.    

On Monday 3 September Zillah Bingley, from Chiswick, West London, provided an exclusive open bus tour of London starting in Northumberland Avenue and including iconic sights such Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus, Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, Lambeth Palace and the London Eye.

Several families who are supported by Rainbow Trust boarded the double decker for the 45-minute tour, along with corporate sponsors and other supporters, which had been made possible thanks to a partnership between The Original Tour and Rainbow Trust.

Build-A-Bear® donated 50 teddies as a surprise treat for the children to enjoy en-route in honour of National Teddy Bear Day, which is celebrated on 9 September.

Zillah said: “I am extremely grateful to our corporate sponsor The Original Tour for lending Rainbow Trust the tour bus and for taking the time to provide me with some essential tour guide training beforehand.

“Despite being a born and bred Londoner, it was a completely new experience for me and one which I thoroughly enjoyed. Not only did it allow me to fulfil one of my ‘50 Challenges’ to mark my birthday year but I was also able to tell people about the importance of the work we do at Rainbow Trust. I would also like to thank Build-A-Bear for donating their lovely teddies, which the children loved.”

Jane Lewis, MD of The Original Tour, said: “The Original Tour was delighted to be able to help Zillah complete one of her ’50 challenges’ and we’re so glad she enjoyed the experience! The Original Tour has always focussed on ensuring children as well as adults have a fun & entertaining time on-board our buses so we’re delighted that we can support the valuable work that Rainbow Trust does helping families who have children with life-threatening illnesses.”

Emily Fuhrman, Manager of Foundations and Giving at Build-A-Bear, said: “At Build-A-Bear, our mission is to add a little more heart to life, and we are committed to making days a little bit brighter for children in need. National Teddy Bear Day is one of our favourite days, and we were thrilled to have surprised children supported by Rainbow Trust with teddies to accompany them on their journey, bring comfort and make their days a little brighter one bear hug at a time.”

Rainbow Trust enables families who have a child with a life-threatening illness to make the most of their time together when it matters most. It provides expert practical and emotional support for as long as needed by pairing each family with an expert Family Support Worker who helps them at home, in hospital and in the community.

If you would like to learn more about Zillah’s 50 Challenges or donate, please visit the fundraising page here,

Rainbow Trust is a national charity providing expert practical and emotional support to families, where they need it, to help them make the most of each new day. It relies almost entirely on voluntary donations and thanks to the generosity of its supporters helps over 2,300 families through its nine care teams in England.