The keys of a £43,000 new wheelchair-accessible 14-seater mini-bus have been handed over in a ceremony in front of Bexhill Hospital.
The mini-bus, complete with powered tail-lift for wheelchairs and sign-written “League of Friends, assisting with transport for the community,” has been purchased by the League of Friends of Bexhill Hospital.
It will remain in league ownership but will be operated by fellow local charity Bexhill Caring Community as part of its three-vehicle Dial-A-Ride fleet. Among the services provided by Dial-A-Ride is patient transport to the hospital.
The Caring Community was represented at the ceremony by manager Jackie Haggerty and colleagues Monique Southgate and Angela Van Aalst together with Terry Clarke, one of seven BCC drivers.
The League was also represented by committee members Audrey Kerr, Harriet Chapman, Pearl Easton and Peter Stiles.
Presenting the BCC manager with the keys to the mini-bus, Cllr Earl said: “Everybody here will appreciate that this is a ‘first’. This is something where two charities which serve our community here in Bexhill have worked together to provide something which will benefit so many people.
“We are delighted from the League of Friends that we have been in a position to put on permanent loan to Bexhill Caring Community this new mini-bus.
“I think this will send out a wonderful message to our community that we are not individuals – we all in this town serve each other and care for each other and I hope that this is the start of a great relationship where we can work together.”
Mayor Simon Elford said it was always a pleasure to witness the work of the League of Friends, which was providing an amazing amount of equipment for patients.
He said: “The people of Bexhill are really lucky to have groups like this which are working so hard for the community. ”
Jacquie Haggerty said: “We are extremely grateful for this wonderful mini-bus. It will make a splendid addition to our charity and we look forward to welcoming people on it.”
Hospital chaplain The Rev Barnett congratulated the League of Friends for their vision in providing the vehicle for the use of the community. He said: “I think it will have a great deal of use among many people.”
The mini-bus went into service the following day. It is planned to have the Dial-A-Ride buses available to transport supporters to and from the Hospital Garden Party on Saturday, June 10.
To make use of the Dial-A-Ride service ring BCC on 01424 215116.
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