FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
On the inauspicious Friday 13 October HRH The Duke of Gloucester made an official visit to the museum to celebrate 50 Years of Bus Preservation in Oxfordshire but nothing went wrong and everyone enjoyed the visit.
He was greeted by Stephen Jolly and Chris Butterfield who took him on a tour of the museum exhibits. The 1881 horse drawn tram and the two char-a-bancs dating from the 1920s attracted his attention. In the workshop The Duke met Neil Tidbury, the workshop manager, who showed him the 1915 Y type bus which is undergoing restoration. The body of the lower deck has recently arrived back from a specialist body builder and been reunited with its chassis. The next task to be undertaken in the museum is to rebuild the outside staircase. Then sides will be fitted to the open top and seats refitted.
The Duke has an interest in vintage cars so enjoyed seeing the 20 Morris cars and vans in the Morris Motors Museum before going up to inspect the 50 historic bicycles on loan from Bill Faulkner, who explained the development of the bicycle over the last 200 years.
In the Museum café the duke mingled with the 60 members and Cllr. Zoé Patrick, Chairman of Oxfordshire County Council, Cllr. Norman MacRae, Chairman of West Oxfordshire District Council and Mr Niels Chapman, Chairman of Long Hanborough Parish Council, who had gathered for the celebration. In his speech he praised the museum volunteers for their achievements in the last 50 years and described the fairy tale outcome for a rusty tram nearing the end of its life in service and threatened with the scrapyard only to be rescued by a group of loving enthusiasts, restored and then put in a museum where it is polished, cossetted and occasionally taken out for a run, but only in good weather.
The Duke was presented with a model vintage Oxford bus and a copy of “The Book of Oxford Buses and Trams”, which has been written by two of the museum’s trustees, by Christine Key, the shop manageress.
Finally the Duke boarded the museum’s 1949 AEC Regal III bus, driven by one of the initial group who 50 years ago bought the bus for preservation, John Bayliss, to travel in style to his next engagement. The volunteer conductor even issued him with a bus ticket. The Official Car followed discreetly behind the bus but was not needed!
About Oxford Bus Museum
The museum is located at the Rail Station Long Hanborough, Oxfordshire OX29 8LA and contains 35 vintages buses and coaches, the earliest dating from 1913, a collection of Morris cars dating from 1925 to 1977, a horse drawn tram and a collection of 40 mainly nineteenth century bicycles.
The museum is open between 10.30am and 4.30pm on Wednesdays and Sundays throughout the year, on summer Saturdays and on Bank Holidays and New Year's Day but neither Christmas Day nor Boxing Day. There is a cafe and shop. The museum is run entirely by volunteers.
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