Southern Vectis is laying out the red carpet in September for its most famous bus, as the Old Girl celebrates her 80th birthday.
The Isle of Wight operator is holding a special charity vintage tea party in her honour on Tuesday, September 17 at Ryde Bus Station, with proceeds going to the Royal British Legion.
“We’re proud and honoured to be custodians of the Old Girl as she reaches her 80th birthday,” said Southern Vectis general manager, Richard Tyldsley. “She has the distinction of being the oldest double deck bus still in service with her original owner anywhere in the UK – and probably anywhere in the world.
“This is an accolade worthy of a big celebration – and that’s what we intend to give her in September. Guests will enjoy a vintage tea party before boarding the Old Girl for a tour across the surrounding area.
“We will be offering tea, cake, music from the era and and lots of bunting. It would be great to welcome as many of of our customers and other visitors as possible to share in this very special occasion.”
A brand new British-made Bristol 5KG, the Old Girl arrived on the Isle of Wight in July 1939 – 42 days before the start of World War II. She entered service as a standard double-decker, taking Islanders and visitors from A to B during six years of wartime and thereafter.
Now, the 80-year-old is available for private hire, attending all sorts of special occasions – from weddings, christenings, parties and sightseeing – she’s done them all.
“The Old Girl has plenty of life in her, and we’re looking forward to many wonderful years still to come,” added Richard. “We’re using our 80th birthday party to raise funds for the Royal British Legion. Any donations we receive for teas and tours on the day will be donated to this very worthy cause.”
Among those supporting the birthday party is Claire Critchison from Claire’s Kitchen, who is providing a range of crockery to give the celebration a real vintage feel.
For more information about the event and Southern Vectis, please visit islandbuses.info