Suffolk

'Much-loved' coach returns to Shetland

Nick Taylor with his Bedford OB coach Image copyright Nick Taylor
Image caption Nick Taylor with the trophy for Best Coach won at the Eastern Transport Rally at Old Buckenham Airfield, Norfolk in 2014

A vintage coach, used on the Shetland Islands from 1950 until 1979, is to make a 1,000-mile journey back there.

Current owner Nick Taylor, 66, bought the Bedford OB vehicle for £27,000 five years ago and takes it to shows near his home in Weybread, Suffolk.

However, he decided to return the coach after being visited by one of its former Shetland drivers, John Watt.

"It's very much-loved in Shetland, as I believe the coach driver was," Mr Taylor said.

"It's a beautiful shape with a huge sliding sunroof and when I take it to shows next to flash cars, it's the coach that gets the attention.

"I'm getting to the age where it's going to be difficult to be able to drive it for insurance reasons, so I'd rather it was back permanently on the islands where people remember it and will cherish it."

1950 Bedford OB

Image copyright Nick Taylor
  • Chassis built in Luton
  • First registered with Glasgow's Co-operative Wholesale Society in 1950
  • Sold to first owner in Shetland Islands later that year
  • 6 cylinder, 28 horse power, 3,519cc petrol engine
  • Current top speed of 40 mph

Source: Nick Taylor

Mr Watt, who lives in Reawick in Shetland, is now 71-years-old and still drives school buses.

"It was good to see the bus again - I had a run in it to Long Melford and the memories came flooding back," he said.

"The roads in Shetland weren't as good then as they are now, but the bus was very good in bad weather."

The coach will be handed over to the Shetland Commercial Vehicle Preservation Trust which plans to use it for special occasions.

The trust's chairman Mark Robinson, 44, remembered travelling on it when he was seven years old.

"The environment here is so harsh that very little survives this long, so we're very excited about getting it operating here again," he said.

The coach is due to begin its journey on 11 June starting at Norwich Cathedral and taking a "scenic route" to Shetland via the north Norfolk coast, Lincoln, Edinburgh, Glasgow, the west coast of Scotland and the Orkney Islands.

Image copyright Contributed
Image caption The coach on the Shetland Islands during its 1950-1979 period of service

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