Hartlepool Sea Cadets’ minibus is back on the road after a big helping hand

Hartlepool Sea Cadets got more than a helping hand to get their minibus back on the road thanks to a team of good Samaritans.

The cadets’ minibus was forced off the road after it was vandalised twice in the space of a year including being broken into and a rock hurled through a window.

Stephen Picton (left) from Helping Hands hands over the keys to the mini bus to 2nd Lt David Quinn officer in charge Hartlepool Sea Cadets, as cadets and helping hands members look on . Picture by FRANK REID

Stephen Picton (left) from Helping Hands hands over the keys to the mini bus to 2nd Lt David Quinn officer in charge Hartlepool Sea Cadets, as cadets and helping hands members look on . Picture by FRANK REID

A group of volunteers called Helping Hands stepped in and refurbished the vehicle so that it is now better than ever.

The group raised money and got local business on board who kindly carried out repair work for free.

Helping hands delivered the new-look minibus to the Sea Cadets at their meeting on Thursday night.

David Quinn, officer in charge of Hartlepool Sea Cadets, said: “The bus was really tired looking and rusty, there were broken seats and then it was vandalised twice and broken into.

It’s amazing, a completely different bus. It looks brand new rather than 12 years old

David Quinn, Officer in Charge Hartlepool Sea Cadets

“We loaned Helping hands the minibus to help with the floods in Yorkshire and they decided they were going to help get our bus back to how it should be.”
He said of the results: “It’s amazing, a completely different bus. It looks brand new rather than 12 years old.

“Initially, we were looking to buy a brand new bus but now we don’t need to. This will last us a good few years.”
The bus is used regularly so that the cadets, aged between 10 and 18, can attend competitions and training activities all over the country.

Helping Hands got together in January when a group of friends and volunteers from Hartlepool got together to help the clean up effort in Yorkshire after devastating floods.

Tony Mann of the group said their efforts were so successful they decided to keep the group going to help anyone else.

Helping Hands handed over the keys to the mini bus to 2nd Lt David Quinn officer in charge Hartlepool Sea Cadets, as cadets look on. Picture by FRANK REID

Helping Hands handed over the keys to the mini bus to 2nd Lt David Quinn officer in charge Hartlepool Sea Cadets, as cadets look on. Picture by FRANK REID

He said: “The idea was formed within the group to say the cadets were god enough to lend us the bus, let’s give it a makeover and be something both the cadets and Hartlepool can be proud of.

“Various business all came together and chipped in with work or bought advertising space on the bus.

“The end results have been worth it.”

Tony and his friend William Mundell also raised money for the work by driving from Land’s End to John o’Groats in a pick-up truck inside a day and dressed in a onesie back in March.

Cpl Liam Atkinson-Bruce in the driving seat of the Mini Bus. Picture by FRANK REID

Cpl Liam Atkinson-Bruce in the driving seat of the Mini Bus. Picture by FRANK REID

Other fundraisers included a clairvoyant night at West Hartlepool Rugby Club which paid to upholster the bus’s seats.

The bus before the makeover from Helping Hands

The bus before the makeover from Helping Hands

The inside of the cadets' bus was in a poor state of repair and was vandalised twice in a year

The inside of the cadets' bus was in a poor state of repair and was vandalised twice in a year