Thursday, 21 May 2020

Friends of King Alfred Buses - Latest Update Including the Need for Accommodation for Ten Vehicles

Sunday 3rd May should have been the The Original King Alfred Buses Centenary Running Day, a major event for 2020.
However, the current coronavirus emergency meant that it had to be cancelled, in common with most similar events throughout the UK. 

According to the King Alfred website  "With the amount of organising effort that had already been put in, this was most disappointing, especially as May 2020 is the centenary of the start of King Alfred Motor Services, the first charabanc excursion having run on Whitsun Bank Holiday Monday in 1920. The best we can offer are the videos and other information on our website as a flavour of 'what might have been'.

All events which would normally be attended by King Alfred buses have been cancelled until the end of June. Beyond that, it is too early to say what may be possible. The vehicles are safe for the duration. 
For the moment, we have little option but to hunker down until things change for the better. Meanwhile, whilst our financial position is not dire, nevertheless the absence of a spring Running Day means we have lost the income we would normally expect from sales of programme/timetables and other items, whilst our overheads for such matters as rent, rates and insurance continue unabated.

Looking further into the future, we foresee ourselves facing some significant challenges. In particular, as if the impact of COVID-19 were not enough, we have recently learnt that one of the sites at which our vehicles are currently kept will not be available to us next year. 
The search for a new home for around 10 vintage buses and coaches is on! If anyone knows of suitable premises offering covered accommodation within reasonable driving distance of Winchester we should be delighted to hear from them. 
Equally, any donations to help us get through this difficult time would be most welcome. 

Given favourable circumstances, we would very much like to provide a vintage bus event in the autumn, probably as part of Heritage Open Days. More information will be provided when a firm decision can be made, probably in late summer. We also look forward to 2021, when we hope to start the year with an event on 1st January.

We understand that most vintage vehicle rallies and running days planned for May and June 2020 have been cancelled as well as some large, well known events later in the summer such as the Alton Rally & Running Day in July and the Great Dorset Steam Fair in August."