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Festive vintage bus service launches in Norwich

PUBLISHED: 12:14 21 December 2019 | UPDATED: 11:35 22 December 2019

Carole Slaughter, Head of Fundraising at Big C, with volunteer drivers on a festive vintage bus which is offering free rides around Norwich to raise money. Picture: Lauren De Boise.

Carole Slaughter, Head of Fundraising at Big C, with volunteer drivers on a festive vintage bus which is offering free rides around Norwich to raise money. Picture: Lauren De Boise.

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Nostalgic vintage buses are driving around Norwich for free in the run up to Christmas to raise money towards a new £500,000 cancer support centre.

Volunteer drivers with the festive vintage buses which are offering free rides around Norwich to raise money for the Big C. Picture: Lauren De Boise.Volunteer drivers with the festive vintage buses which are offering free rides around Norwich to raise money for the Big C. Picture: Lauren De Boise.

The Big C has teamed up with Awayadays to launch its festive bus rides.

This year they will be running two services for visitors getting round until Christmas Eve.

All donations will go towards the Norfolk and Waveney's new support and information centre on Dereham Road. Building is due to begin in the new year.

The project will cost half-a-million pounds and allow the charity to extend its services, with the aim to open in November next year.

Volunteer drivers with the festive vintage buses which are offering free rides around Norwich to raise money for the Big C. Picture: Lauren De Boise.Volunteer drivers with the festive vintage buses which are offering free rides around Norwich to raise money for the Big C. Picture: Lauren De Boise.

The buses include an iconic 1965 London Transport Routemaster and a 1970s Eastern Counties Bristol VR.

Sam Larke, 18, is volunteering as a bus conductor and this year will be driving the bus for the first time.

He said: "It's a little bit weird driving something that was already about 40 years old by the time I was born. I absolutely love it, it's a childhood dream come true.

"Vintage vehicles have a charm about them and they feel quite cosy. It's a nice thing to do at Christmas. It's very popular, a lot of people who haven't planned to come on it just see it and want to get on it because the buses are so iconic."

Volunteer drivers with the festive vintage buses which are offering free rides around Norwich to raise money for the Big C. Picture: Lauren De Boise.Volunteer drivers with the festive vintage buses which are offering free rides around Norwich to raise money for the Big C. Picture: Lauren De Boise.

Passengers can hop on and off and can make a donation to the Norfolk and Waveney cancer charity.

Carole Slaughter, head of fundraising for the Big C, said: "Cancer touches so many people and more and more are being diagnosed every year, it's not just the person with the diagnosis, it's their families, their friends and their colleagues so we are trying to do as much as we can to help.

"Christmas is the time you think about family, you think about friends, you think about the people who are not here. I think it is almost a natural process. It's something that is at the forefront of people's minds."

The service runs half hourly for the Routemaster and an hourly service for the VR between 10.30am and 3.30pm. The route takes 30 minutes and takes in the city centre, St Stephens Street, City Hall, the railway station before returning to Castle Meadow. Passengers can hop on and off as they like and can donate to an charity box on the bus.

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