Sunday 21 May 2017

Anglian Come Up Trumps For Lena

Thursday was a poignant day. It was the funeral of Lena Sadler, bus campaigner and friend. She was also a member of the 165 club, a group of passengers and drivers who remained in touch after Anglian's 165 Aldeburgh - Ipswich route was axed in 2013. I thought it would be a nice idea if Anglian could supply a bus as a tribute to Lena so I approached Mickey Amey, Depot Manager at Anglian who couldn't have been more accommodating, saying that yes, as long as a spare vehicle was available he would be happy to help out.

It wasn't going to be easy to find a suitable Anglian liveried vehicle though, with 13 blue loan vehicles being brought in while Anglian's fleet gets a much needed overhaul, so my hopes weren't high. However I'm delighted to report that Mickey managed to find an Optare Versa - which had seen service on the 165 - and although it was too late to programme the destination screen, Paul the driver printed out a couple of sheets to go in the window which was quite common on the 165! And so we gathered at the Church of St Andrew, Aldringham

Anglian 308 at Aldringham Church
The tribute from Anglian
The church was packed, and a short, simple but moving service took place, with Lena being laid to rest in the churchyard after. There were no frills about Lena, and I know she would have appreciated the simplicity of the occasion, and would have laughed herself silly at the sight of the bus blocking the car park.

Members of the 165 club - Mike, Paul, Robin, Jane and Peter
Peter also took some pics, a couple of which I'm delighted to be able publish here.

Thanks, Peter.
It was fantastic to see so many people there, including some who knew Lena just from chatting on the bus. Lena was that type of person. She left her mark on whoever she met and I predict many glasses will be raised in her memory for years to come.

My heartfelt thanks and gratitude go to Mickey and Dave Smith at Anglian. I'm not sure regimes of the past would have been as willing to accommodate, and it is another indication of the positivity that has started to flow through Anglian's veins. The gesture was truly appreciated by all and certainly turned a few heads. Thanks to Paul for doing the driving, and it turned a sad occasion into a nice one too.

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