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16 October 2014

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AJC 187

By Eunice Roberts
May 2007, Colwyn Bay
A digital story from Capture Wales

"What became of AJC 187? When I was young, we lived in Betws y Coed and my Dad worked for British Railways, not on the trains, but delivering goods from Llanrwst Station, where everything arrived by train. He'd often move enormous slabs of aluminum that were going to Dolgarrog Works.

I had a railway pass all my own and was able to travel for free. Mam could come too, but Dad had another much more interesting and exciting job. When he arrived home at the end of the day, he became an ambulance driver.

He'd done his first aid training with the order of St John of Jerusalem and our new phone had been installed. It soon became my job to listen out for the phone and the first call out of the evening.

His Caernarfonshire Service ambulance was kept in the middle of the village, at the old stables of the Royal Oak Hotel.

On Sunday afternoons, Bobby and Eryl, my big brothers, were always allowed to go and help Dad clean and polish the ambulance. They could sit in the driver's seat, wear Dad's peaked cap and pretend they were driving to the latest emergency.

I really wanted to go too, but I was too small. What a treat it was when I could go with Mam. That lovely cream and green Bedford ambulance would really shine when they'd finished, but I'm sure it would shine just that little bit extra when I'd been there too. Did it ever rain when it was cleaning time?

Dad stopped being an ambulance driver in 1966 and the ambulance was moved from Betws soon after. Dad carried on driving all sorts of vehicles, from container trucks to oil tankers, from the old maroon Ford Anglia to the bright red Vauxhall Cavalier.

But a ride in none of these was ever quite as special; none of them ever had quite the same appeal as a ride in that old cream and green ambulance in the 1960s.

I still wonder what happened to AJC 187."

Please tell us a little about yourself.
I was born in Betws-y-Coed and lived there until I was eight years old when Dad's work meant a move to Colwyn Bay which has been home ever since. I work at Colwyn Bay Library - a varied and very enjoyable job. I have a keen interest in the history of Colwyn Bay and the surrounding area.

What's your story about?
My story's about my Dad and the time he spent as a part-time ambulance driver and my memories of that time. The Bedford ambulance, AJC 187, was very much a part of our family life during those years.

Why did you choose to tell this particular story?
As a family we still talk about and have fond memories of the old ambulance and those days in Betws. We've often wondered where the old Bedford finished up.

What did you find most rewarding about the workshop?
Seeing and hearing my story and everyone else at the workshop's stories when they were completed having gone through all the stages needed to get there - from preparing and recording the story to the practicalities of adding the photographs. The support and encouragement I received made it possible.

Your comments

"I'm too young to remember the cream and green Bedford ambulance, but i remember the oil tankers and red caviler. Eunice is my auntie and the story is a very beautiful way of showing my little boy, Morgan(when he's a bit older) who his great Taid was." Kevin Jones, Denbigh.

"This story was part of my life growing up as I am Eunice's older brother and it brings back very fond memories of growing up and of our late father. I followed in my father's footsteps at the age of 23 and became an Ambulance myself with the then Clwyd Ambulance Service on a full time bases until I resigned in 1987." Bob Roberts. Wrexham.

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