Mum ‘furious’ after bus driver leaves two of her children stranded

Charlotte Pope with four-year-old son Timmy, who was left stranded two miles from home with older si

Charlotte Pope with four-year-old son Timmy, who was left stranded two miles from home with older sister Chloe after a bus driver abandoned the siblings at Salthouse. Picture: KAREN BETHELL - Credit: Archant

A north Norfolk mum-of-five was left distraught after a school bus driver left two of her children stranded two miles from home because of a road diversion.

Charlotte Pope, who lives at Weybourne, said after her 15-year-old daughter Chloe caught the bus from Sheringham High School, stopping off to collect younger brother Timmy, 4, from Kelling Primary, the siblings and Chloe's friend India Weston, 14, were told to get off the bus at Salthouse, despite pleading with the driver to take them to the stop near their home.

With no mobile phone credit and a poor signal, Chloe had no means of contacting her family, so, rather than walk along the dangerously narrow and winding coast road, she walked with Timmy to the beach and headed for Weybourne windmill, while India, 14, walked the one-and-a-half miles to Kelling by road to raise the alarm.

'My mum usually picks the children up from the stop at Weybourne, but when the bus didn't turn up, we started to get worried and, when it got really late, we were just frantically trying to get hold of Chloe,' Mrs Pope explained.

'I was sick with worry thinking about what might have happened to them.'

After Mrs Pope eventually reached Chloe by phone, her mother Anne set off to collect the youngsters by car, with two teachers from Kelling Primary School, who had been alerted by India, also out looking for them.

'Chloe was fantastic and, although she was really shaken up, she made it an adventure for Timmy,' Mrs Pope said. 'But I'm just furious at the bus driver.'

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Charles Sanders, managing director of Sanders Coaches, said the driver had resigned as a result of the incident.

'We have dealt with driver concerned and apologised to the parents,' he added. 'He said he didn't know what he was thinking and actually went back to look for the children after he realised his mistake, but it was too late.'

Sanders send out 70 school and service buses a day. Mr Sanders said the company is '100 pc behind parents' and such incidents are an 'extreme rarity'.

Kelling Primary School head teacher Mary Dolan said she was 'appalled' by the driver's actions. 'We have had issues with buses being late or missing the school stop, but to think that anybody would put children at such potential risk is unbelievable,' she added.