Hartlepool Santa Bus saved from the scrapheap and set for a new lease of life after finding new owners

An iconic Hartlepool vehicle has been saved from the scrapheap after a community group stepped in.

Tuesday, 2nd August 2022, 5:55 am

The Hartlepool Santa Bus will be heading on to its next adventure after finding new owners in the North West.

The vehicle was in danger of being scrapped and an appeal was launched earlier this year to help find it a new home.

Town and District Transport Trust, based in Lancashire, stepped in after learning about about the fate of the bus on social media.

The Hartlepool Santa Bus in its current condition.

The charity was founded in 2018 and aims to preserve transport history, with several historic vehicles stored at its unit in Great Harwood, Lancashire, and some touring the country at transport festivals.

Member Ian McKnight, 54, said: "Even though we are not in the North East, this is an historical bus and it would be a shame to see it just get scrapped.

"Every bus vehicle deserves a chance.”

Ian added: "In the short term, medium term, our aim is to get it back on the road and use it as a promotional vehicle as it is and then subject to funding in the long term it would be good to restore it to its original condition, because, obviously, it’s been modified over the years.”

The Hartlepool Corporation Transport bus with Santa and reindeers on its roof.

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The 1972 Hartlepool Transport Bristol RE single-decker became a legend in the area, carrying Santa’s sleigh on its roof every Christmas for around 20 years.

It was later passed on to a bus dealer and it was turned into a mobile social room for Age Concern.

The bus was then bought by Trent Valley Gliding Club and used as a mobile mess room, but found itself in danger of being scrapped in 2016.

The Santa bus in 1974.

An urgent appeal was launched and a group of Hartlepool friends saved the vehicle and brought it back in town later that year.

"For someone not to step in to carry on the work that they’ve started – it’s not fair on them, it’s not fair on the bus,” said Ian.

"It’s just a shame it couldn’t stay in the North East, but at the end of the day, it’s been saved, which is our main focus.”

The bus will be transported to Lancashire in the next couple of weeks.

Ian has added the vehicle will visit Hartlepool when it is back in roadworthy condition.