Residents in the Yorkshire Dales are celebrating as the much-loved Wensleydale Flyer takes to the road again thanks to funding from Yorkshire-based mobility specialist Acorn Stairlifts.
The future looked bleak for the Wensleydale Flyer bus last year as funding for the Sunday and Bank Holiday service – run by a not-for-profit subsidiary of the Yorkshire Dales Society – was due to run out. Supporters and volunteers resorted to crowdfunding to finance the last two months of 2016.
Now local residents and visitors are welcoming the sight of the newly-branded Acorn Wensleydale Flyer as it continues to traverse the picture-postcard towns and villages of Northallerton, Ainderby Steeple, Leeming Bar, Bedale, Constable Burton, Leyburn, Aysgarth, Bainbridge and Hawes. It is a weekly lifeline to those who rely on public transport for business, sightseeing, shopping and social trips.
On one of its first outings of 2017, the Acorn Wensleydale Flyer was greeted by North Yorkshire County Councillor John Blackie. He is also volunteer executive chairman of Little White Bus company, which also operates invaluable rural bus services in the area from Monday to Saturday.
Coun. Blackie said: “I wholeheartedly welcome the support of Acorn Stairlifts, which has secured the future of the Acorn Wensleydale Flyer serving the public on Sundays and Bank Holidays. It is of enormous value to the local communities I represent, visitors to the Upper Dales and the local economy of our surrounding villages.
“Our team of fundraisers did a sterling job of safeguarding the service for the last few months of 2016 and now we can look forward to a bright future for this essential service throughout 2017 and beyond. There are many residents who rely on this bus to carry out their daily chores and, as it covers some of the most beautiful countryside in the county, it is also cherished by tourists.”
The plight of the Wensleydale Flyer was brought to the attention of Acorn Stairlifts by its design studio manager, Emma Slater: “I rely on public transport, so when I read about the lack of funding for the bus I really wanted to explore how we could help.
“We’re constantly working towards giving people greater independence and improved mobility at Acorn Stairlifts and my colleagues agreed it would be the perfect fit. To know that we’ve made such a positive difference to the lives of so many people is amazing. Long may the Acorn Wensleydale Flyer run!”
For more details of DalesBus and its services, visit its website at www.dalesbus.org.
Pictured aboard the Wensleydale Flyer is Acorn Stairlifts' Jodie MCAlister with driver John Harker.