Worthing charity unveils new minibus

Worthing mayor Michael Donin cuts the ribbon to launch the new minibus. PICTURE: DEREK MARTIN dm1612365a
Worthing mayor Michael Donin cuts the ribbon to launch the new minibus. PICTURE: DEREK MARTIN dm1612365a

A LARGE legacy has enabled Worthing Society for the Blind to purchase a brand new minibus for members.

The 16-seater bus was unveiled this afternoon by Worthing mayor Michael Donin at the society’s headquarters in Rowlands Road.

Society members inside the new minibus DM1612384a

Society members inside the new minibus DM1612384a

Members piled into the bus to try it for size, with society president Bob Smytherman at the wheel to encourage them on board.

The £60,000 minibus will replace the current vehicle, which is now being sold by the society.

Barry Ward, chairman of the trustees, said: “The society was left a large legacy during the year and the trustees decided to purchase a replacement minibus.

“The money was added to a smaller donation, which had been set aside for a minibus.”

He said the minibus was used every day of the week for various activities.

Frances Pritchard, HQ manager, added: “Volunteers go and pick members up from home, take them out and then drop them back to home.

“The minibus is used for events, for other trips and Sunday outings, which we have regularly.

“It is used a lot and without it, we would be lost because members would not be able to get out so easily. They do have a bus pass but it is daunting to go out when you can’t see the bus number very well. It is too much for many of them.

“Once they are in our minibus, they get chatting and they get to know each other. It is like an extended family.”

Cutting the ribbon, Mr Donin said: “As a vehicle, it is going to be able to run for many, many years. It is very economical and very comfortable. I really think it is amazing.

“This is the oldest independent charitable society in Worthing, having been established in 1910, and long may it go on.”

The society provides support and education, including various classes at the headquarters.

Membership is open to anyone who is partially sighted or blind, living in the Worthing borough, and there are 50 to 60 volunteers helping in various ways.

Mrs Pritchard added: “We very lucky. There is so much to do.”

Regular classes include Tai Chi, crafts, art, line dancing and boccia. Drop in sessions are held every Monday, 10am to midday, for coffee, cake and a chat. Visit www.worthingsocietyfortheblind.co.uk for more information.

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