A VINTAGE bus trip down memory lane took elderly care home residents in Rotherham for a time travelling ride into the past.
A lovingly restored Leyland PD2 Bus from the 1930s carried residents from Broadacres Care Home, on Parkgate, Rotherham, to the South Yorkshire Transport Museum.
Run by retired bus driver Colin Morton, he told his passengers of his rescue of the bus from First Group after they decided to scrap it, when he bought it for a pound and returned it to its former glory.
For those living with dementia, the trip was a therapeutic delve into their memories, as the one-mile ride and walk around the museum was a reminder of their younger days.
Resident Shirley Ward, 87, recalled her job as a “clippy”, the colloquial term for a bus conductor, a job she held for 20 years from the age of 17.
She said: “I forgot how heavy the ticket machines used to be. Then there was the money bag which used to fill up with lots of change.
“We’d empty the bags into the money box, which the drivers used to carry as all the coins got really heavy. And they had to keep the money safe.”
Other displays at the museum also grabbed the residents’ attention, including a room dedicated to Second World War vehicles. Gordon Wragg, 87, took particular interest in a US Army troop carrier and fully restored mobile crane.
For resident Ruby Gillians, 87, a Wales & Edwards milk float was a reminder of her days selling milk to workers at a nearby factory, which she started in 1950 at age 15.
She said: “Mind you, I only had a horse and cart and the men had to bring their own bottles for the milk to go in.”
Vintage cars, a brougham carriage used in the BBC’s Gentleman Jack, and vintage bicycles were also a fascination. Resident Linda Siddal, 71, was tempted to ride off with one of the bikes as it reminded her of her husband’s.
Pat Brewer, activities coordinator at Broadacres Care Home, was one of five staff members to accompany the residents, three of whom had come in on their days off.
Pat said: “Trips like these are so important for those living with dementia as they can spark so many happy memories.
“This provides a hugely therapeutic effect, helping to lift their general mood, improving their overall wellbeing, reducing stress and anxiety, and not to mention just a good old fun day out for everyone.
“They were all so excited about the trip, especially as we were travelling on a vintage bus.
“We had a good sing song before we got on the bus, courtesy of our resident Margaret and her friends.
“When we got to the museum, it was wonderful to see residents’ faces as they talked about their memories of trams and buses.
“Shirley thought it was very funny to be back on the footplate of an old bus after all these years.
“We can’t thank South Yorkshire Transport Museum enough for a great outing. It’s brilliant they are preserving the heritage of Rotherham.”