Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Joining Up

Keeping old buses alive for the public to enjoy takes bus loads of time, effort, passion and funds. 

Earlier this year we formed a group to help the Trust with these ingredients. Known as our Supporters, over 100 individuals have already signed-up and many are starting to play some vital roles in the Trust's charitable work, from assisting with vehicle restoration and maintenance to helping at our public events. Some are supporting our activities from afar, contributing vital funds and sharing their knowledge via our new Supporters' magazine.

If you haven't already joined, now is a really exciting time to become a Supporter.

The Trust has just enjoyed its busiest Summer to date, with a record number of events attracting more members of the public than ever before. We now have a Winter of activity to plan and look forward to, with vehicle restoration, archiving and 2016 event planning projects already in progress.

The first two editions of To and Fro' our exclusive quarterly magazine, have received rave reviews from Supporters, who have quickly made it their own with a range of contributions. In each edition, we try to combine a mix of Trust news with articles and features that have a lasting value to the bookshelf, always catering for a broad range of interests across the eras and geography of the patch. 

Issue 001 includes an illustrated history of the early 'British' operations in the Thames Valley area, celebrated at our TV100 centenary event in August. For express coaching fans, there's an illustrated discussion of the paper branding used by Royal Blue and others through the years. As well as an account of the Supporters' inaugural tour with our Thames Valley K6A, there's a profile of our 1927 GWR Guy, including its rescue and restoration. 

We are honoured to feature, as an ongoing serialisation in To and Fro', the memoires of the late Dave Farmer - a former Taunton-based Western National driver - bequeathed to us with their preservation and celebration in mind. Brilliantly observed and recounted with great humour, Dave's tales are a unique and delightful record of life as a West Country bus driver in the 1940s, through the '50s, '60s and beyond. They, alone, are worth signing up to read.

Issue 002 of To and Fro' reports on our Kingsbridge Running Day and TV100 events, and comemmorates the demise of First's bus operations in South Devon (the final incarnation of Western National there). There's a celebration of an important Royal Blue/Bristol Greyhound anniversary, an illustrated profile of the unique South Midland Bristol REX prototype, a profile and history of the Thames Valley K6A and a must-read account of Dave Farmer's driving test in a dubiously braked Leyland Lion!

For a limited time, new Supporters will receive editions 001 and 002 as part of their welcome. Issue 003, due before Christmas, will feature articles on Royal Blue coaching refreshment stops and Thames Valley's Bracknell depot, plus discussion in our new 'Letters' column on, amongst other things, Western/Southern National ticket machines.

To and Fro' is just one of the many exclusive benefits enjoyed by Supporters as a result of working closely with the Trust. As a Supporter, you will have the opportunity to volunteer for a wide range of Trust activities should you wish, and learn new skills as you go. As well as opportunities to work on vehicles and help at public events, we have a significant archive and museum facility that we'd welcome your help to maintain. There is also a thriving social element to the Supporters, offering the opportunity to make new friends across the country.

If we've tempted you to become a Supporter of the Trust, please visit our website now to join online.