Bus lover given ‘special treat’ with own private trip

PUBLISHED: 12:08 19 June 2020 | UPDATED: 12:08 19 June 2020

Alasdair was treated to his own private trip on Ipswich Buses. Picture: IPSWICH BUSES

Alasdair was treated to his own private trip on Ipswich Buses. Picture: IPSWICH BUSES


A bus lover missing his favourite mode of transport during the Covid-19 lockdown was given a “special treat” - as Ipswich Buses gave him his own tour of the town.

Alasdair Messenger has had a passion for buses ever since he was a young child.

The 28-year-old looks forward to taking the bus every week into Ipswich town centre - but the coronavirus crisis has stopped him using the vehicles he loves, as all non-essential travel was banned.

Alasdair is also particularly at risk if he catches the virus, as he suffers from various health problems including epilepsy and needs 24-hour care.

MORE: See the latest Suffolk coronavirus news here

However with lockdown measures recently relaxed, Kim Dare - Alasdair’s carer for more than 10 years - called Ipswich Buses to see if anything could be done to stop him from missing out.

Stephen Bryce, general manager at Ipswich Buses, said: “When we received Kim’s email, I instantly decided we should do something to help and put a smile back on Alasdair and Kim’s faces.”

Picking the pair up in California, Alasdair was given a special ride in bus number 45 - otherwise known as “Sir Bobby Robson”.

Driver Stuart Chenery took Alasdair onto the A14 bypass and across the Orwell Bridge, before heading back into Ipswich past the docks and the train station.

You may also want to watch:

They then travelled along Portman Road - passing Ipswich Town FC and the Bobby Robson and Sir Alf Ramsey statues - and into Constantine Road.

MORE: Fears ‘it wouldn’t take much’ for R number to rise above 1

Mr Bryce said: “We drove him through our garage so he could see buses being repaired in our workshops, before treating him to a trip through the bus wash

“We then managed to get him a photo of bus 45 with bus 44, ‘Sir Alf Ramsey’, before taking him home via Tower Ramparts bus station so he could see more buses in action.

“It was truly an emotional experience, seeing the joy and amazement the trip gave Alasdair, and I’m so grateful to our fabulous team who helped make this young man and his carer’s day.

“I am really fortunate to work in an industry that I have always had a personal interest in.

“Like Alasdair, as I young child I loved buses and I still remember going into Lincoln every week on a Lincoln City Transport number 51 bus with my mum and younger brothers to do our shopping, so it’s really satisfying to give something back to the community.”

Kim, who works for Cephas Care in Crabbe Street, Ipswich, said afterwards: “I love my job and days like today just make the hard days’ worth it.

“Alasdair loved today - him being so vocal showed me that. The bus wash was amazing his face just lit up.

“He’s not been on a bus ride for over 12 weeks, so this was just amazing and I’m so grateful to the staff at Ipswich Buses for taking the time to organise this special treat for Alasdair.”

Ipswich Buses was also awarded BBC Radio Suffolk’s Making A Difference Award for organising the trip.

If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Ipswich Star. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the Ipswich Star