In 1979, when the Rt. Hon. Kenneth Clarke QC MP for the Soar Valley constituency was Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport, the government was trying to deregulate bus services in order to encourage a wider variety of public transport in response to the withdrawal of commercial operator services from outlying villages and rural areas. It conceived the idea of allowing smaller buses to operate on a flexible local basis, using unpaid volunteers as management committees and drivers. Such a scheme could also act as a social lifeline, keeping local communities alive and thriving. Some authorities thought such an experiment would fail and took some persuading that volunteers could be efficient, organised and safe on the roads.
Nearly thirty four years later, instead of failing, our scheme has gone from strength to strength; our services and areas of operation have expanded and our drivers have been able to benefit from attending advanced training schemes. We celebrate the fact that a great many people, by dedicated hard work and commitment, have helped to relieve the disabilities of age and vulnerability and contributed to the quality of life of the whole community.