Volunteers drive seven times around the equator

Joseph Bulmer

Volunteer drivers for the Torridge Community Transport Association charity drove 172,500 miles last year - the equivalent of seven times around the equator – to help less mobile local people get from A to B.

Drivers and staff marked this amazing fact as part of National Volunteers Week by gathering in Bideford before driving in convoy to Fremington Quay for a celebratory cream tea.

Around 30 volunteer drivers attended the event. This is just under half of the drivers who help the charity.

Duncan Goodman, manager of the charity, said: “Not all our drivers could be there. The others were out transporting some of the 2,500 passengers we have registered. We provide about 125 car journeys each week.” he said. “What our drivers do makes such a difference to people who would otherwise find it hard to get to all the places they need to go. We are really desperate for more drivers so that we can help as many people as possible.”

Chairman Roy Bezzina said the event had been arranged to say ‘thank you’ to the volunteers for their hard work and to especially recognise this during Volunteers Week.

TCTA provides a ‘transport safety net’ for people who have no other viable way of getting about. Journeys include for shopping, medical appointments, social and other events. One of the longest journeys was to Canterbury to take an older couple to a family wedding.

Passengers pay enough to cover drivers’ expenses,plus a small booking fee.

For more information call 01237 423232, giving at least two working days notice to book a journey. More volunteers are also welcome.