An urgent appeal has been launched to save Hartlepool’s historic “Santa Bus’” and bring it back to the town.
The 1972 Hartlepool Transport Bristol RE single-decker became a legend in the area as it carried Santa’s sleigh on its roof every Christmas for around 20 years.
The bus, registration OEF 77K still exists – minus its sleigh – and is about to be scrapped by the Lincolnshire Gliding Club, which has been using it a mobile messroom.
But members of the Hartlepool Transport Facebook group are now hoping that the bus can be saved.
Spokesman for the organisation Nick Larkin said: “We have been offered the bus for £500, basically the scrap value and it would be wonderful to see the bus saved and most importantly back in Hartlepool where it belongs.
“Would anyone in the area consider offering reasonably priced storage, and maybe transportation for the bus?
“We wonder if there is a community organisation that might be interested in the bus as it is.”Nick Larkin
“We would also be looking to set up a group in the town to help run the project.”
Journalist Nick, who has several Hartlepool buses originally bought OEF 77K in 1997 from Stagecoach to save it from the scrapman.
“I couldn’t really afford to hang on to it at the time and it was sold through a dealer to be used as a mobile social club for Age Concern in East Yorkshire,” he added.
The bus was converted for its new role and is minus most seats but does have a wheelchair ramp.
“We wonder if there is a community organisation that might be interested in the bus as it is,” said Nick. who is writing a book on Hartlepool Transport and would love to hear from anyone with pictures and/or memories.
Anyone who can help, or who would like to become involved with the Santa Bus rescue is invited to contact Nick on 01733 347776 or 07950 643065 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.