Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Round-the-world bus trip: Folk singers' 1969 film screened

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Media captionThe folk-powered bus went round the globe

A film documenting a three-year trip around the world by a group of friends in a double-decker bus is being screened in their Hampshire village later.

The nine, from Liphook, were in their late teens and 20s when they set off in a converted municipal bus in 1969.

They funded the trip by singing folk songs as they travelled across Europe, central Asia, Australia and the USA.

Trip leader Richard King said the experience had been "life-changing".

Image copyright Richard King
Image caption The journey took them from Liphook, across Europe Asian, Australia and the USA, before ending in Downing Street in London

He recalled how the trip came about as the result of a bet with their local publican in Liphook.

The bus, a Leyland PD2, was bought for £100 from Warington Corporation. They named it "The Hairy Pillock Two".

It already had 700,000 miles on the clock when it was kitted out with bunks, cooking and eating facilities and a navigator's desk on the top deck.

Image copyright Richard King
Image caption The group performed folk songs as they travelled around the world

The journey took them from Liphook, across Europe to Istanbul before travelling through Iran, Afghanistan and India, as well as Australia and the USA.

The group made money en route by playing folk songs - even performing for the Shah and Empress after an appearance on Iranian television.

Mr King, now 72 and living in Ashford, Kent, is being joined by two of the other three surviving travellers for a screening of a film, "Pillock Conquers the World", made during the journey.

Image copyright Richard King
Image caption The converted Leyland bus had sleeping, cooking and eating facilities

Money raised is going towards the village's carnival fund.

"It was life-changing for all of us. We got back and had a better idea of what we would do with our lives," Mr King said.

"I'm really pleased we did it and it gave us a different direction in life.

"We were unique - there weren't many people going around in double-decker buses singing folk songs. It was the university of real life."

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