Community transport group pays a special tribute to founder at meeting

PUBLISHED: 15:19 16 January 2020 | UPDATED: 15:19 16 January 2020


Staff, drivers, trustees and volunteers at the Bungay-based Bact community transport organisation gathered together to celebrate the life of Geoff Banham, who had helped found the organisation and who died in 2016.

The event saw the unveiling of a plaque in his memory.

His widow, Betty Shay, and son, James Banham, attended the ceremony where people heard from manager, Debbie Blowers, on how the organisation had been formed back in 1997 and how Geoff had been driving as a volunteer driver since 1993.

The successful running of the car scheme from his home with wife Betty led to the organisation being awarded a lottery grant which meant they could employ staff, rent an office and also start a fundraising campaign which bought Bact its first minibus.

The seeds that Geoff planted back then were firmly in place and grew rapidly over the years.

Geoff spent years dedicated to the organisation as a committee member steering the group as it grew and also as a driver. Over the years, he clocked up more than 500,000 miles driving elderly and vulnerable people to many destinations.

He loved his driving and meeting people and without his dedication and hard work, Bact would not be here today.

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Bact said it was delighted to name its meeting room as the Geoff Banham Meeting Room.

Today Bact has well over 1,200 passengers and groups registered who are using their services and over the last year it has undertaken over 417,000 miles either in its own accessible vehicles or with volunteers.

Chairman Philip Mitchell said: "We all have a lot to thank Geoff Banham and other volunteers over the years for this most valuable service."

Bact provides transport for people living in the Waveney area and a large part of South Norfolk.

These services are open to all, young, old, able-bodied or infirm.

The majority of journeys undertaken are for transporting passengers to medical services and day centres on behalf of the local authorities, but many others are for shopping, hairdressing, and to visit friends and family.

Transport is provided by volunteer drivers, using either their own vehicles or its minibuses and wheelchair-accessible vehicles.

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