Sidmouth’s new mini-bus blessed at launch

Sidmouth Living With Cancer’s Campaign 2010 raises �52,000 for new, adapted mini-bus

THE generosity of residents, determination of its members, and backing by Sidmouth Herald’s CAMPAIGN 2010, has resulted in a massive �52,000 being raised for Sidmouth Living With Cancer’s mini-bus appeal.

On Friday the new bus, modified by GM Coachworks of Newton Abbot, was launched at Kennaway House, jointly by Bill and Evelyn Lankester of SLWC and Diana Bowerman, News Editor of the Herald.

Bill thanked the Sidmouth Herald for backing the mini-bus appeal, which not only offers members the chance to be transported to events throughout the year, but is available for use by the wider Sid Valley community.

He said: “Without the Sidmouth Herald and Di’s support we would never have raised so much in such a short time. CAMPAIGN 2010 has really raised the profile of our group and, to be honest, I am overwhelmed by the generosity of Sidmouth’s residents.

“Nearly everyone in the group has done something, from coffee mornings and car boot sales to selling prize draw tickets and running concerts, and they always came up trumps.”

Diana said: “When we launched CAMPAIGN 2010 we had a difficult task choosing which appeal to support, but felt the �35,000 needed for the mini-bus was achievable and would help not only SLWC but the community as a whole.

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“I never dreamed people’s generosity would boost that to �52,000, which now means the group has two years’ running costs covered.”

The largest single donation has come from this year’s Rotary-run Swimathon 2010, whose teams raised �10, 742.65 for the charity.

“In all we had 250 donations, from 47p to the money raised through the Swimathon,” said Bill. “I am so proud of all that has been achieved, and this is a wonderful day. GM Coachworks did a super job on adapting the mini-bus for those using wheelchairs.”

Bill and Evelyn couldn’t resist buying; with their own money, a special number plate for the mini-bus: SIO LWC. They are also planning a Thank You picnic at Blackmore Gardens, with celebratory cake, from noon on May Bank Holiday for the whole town to enjoy. More details follow.

Before its first official journey, with driver Alan Matthews, to take disabled members for coffee, the Reverend Prebendary David James blessed the bus and said: “We thank you gracious Father for the generosity of many who have provided this bus to help and support those living with cancer…Bless this bus and all those who travel in it, that it may be a means of grace and a sign of hope for all who see and use it.”

Wheelchair user Jenny Holman said the mini-bus would be “a great help as I will be able to get out and about more.”

Fords of Sidmouth has sponsored secure parking for the mini-bus.