Norfolk

Vintage 1950s Bedford coach to return to Shetland

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Media captionVintage bus makes 1,200-mile journey from Norfolk to Shetland

A vintage coach used in the Shetland Isles from 1950 until 1979 is about to begin its 1,000-mile journey home.

The 1950s Bedford coach was bought by Nick Taylor in 2011, and he completed its restoration at his home at Weybread in Suffolk.

A visit from its Shetland-based former driver in 2013 persuaded Mr Taylor the coach belonged back on the island.

It will leave from outside Norwich Cathedral on Monday, after a blessing from the bishop.

The coach was used by islanders to get to the shops and to go to school.

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

Mr Taylor said he realised it was a "lifeline to the islanders" after a visit to Suffolk from its former driver, James Watt, in 2013.

He said: "It was his life - he'd drive it every day across the island. He took children to school and relatives to weddings and funerals. He even did impromptu deliveries across the island."

Mr Watt, from Reawick, Shetland, drove the Duple Vista coach from 1968.

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

Mr Taylor has donated it to the Shetland Commercial Vehicle Preservation Trust.

He and a support team of 10, including Mr Watt, a vicar and a chef will depart from outside Norwich Cathedral.

The Bedford, which has a top speed of 40mph (64kph), will be driven to the Shetland Isles via Lincolnshire, across to the Lake District and up the west coast of Scotland.

Mr Taylor hopes they will reach Shetland on 22 June.

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