FirstGroup has created a new trust to restore and preserve some of the company’s historic vehicles.
The FirstGroup Heritage Trust already has four buses from First’s operations in Aberdeen, dating back to the 1930s. However, that figure will grow as the Trust takes ownership of buses from throughout First’s operations in the UK.
Joe Mackie, First Aberdeen’s commercial director and secretary of the trust, said: “It’s important we protect and preserve our heritage vehicles. In Aberdeen, for example, our 1930s Albion bus has a rich and varied history. To condemn it to the scrapheap or consider selling it would be a great loss.
“In setting up the Trust, vehicles with historical significance such as the Albion are protected. There are a number of buses throughout our UK operations that we will take ownership of and subsequently restore and preserve them.”
On March 22, FirstGroup had three vehicles on display at its headquarters in Aberdeen: A 1965 Daimler, a 1975 Leyland Leopard and the 1930 Albion. All three vehicles are currently on display at the Alford Transport Museum. Mr Mackie continued: “The Albion is my favourite, it has so much character and style. We were contacted some years ago by a home owner in London who discovered the original chassis in his back garden. It emerged the Albion was in service in Aberdeen in the 1930s before being commissioned during World War Two and taken to London. First transported it back to the north east 10 years ago and faithfully restored the vehicle to its former glory. It’s now on display at the Alford Transport Museum, like all the Aberdeen vehicles in the Trust, and is available for private hire. It’s a popular means of transport for brides on their wedding day.”
Also present at FirstGroup’s headquarters on March 22 was George Law (59) who has been with First for 43 years. He said: “I remember fondly driving the Daimler in the 1970s. It was great being able to step back in time and get behind the wheel again. The buses nowadays are smoother and far easier to handle, much more comfortable for passengers too, but there is a special place in my heart for the Daimler. I’m pleased First has taken steps to preserve these historic buses.”
The FirstGroup Heritage Trust consists of four trustees: Joe Mackie; David Liston, FirstGroup’s business efficiency and engineering director; Gordon Mills, former engineering director at FirstGroup; and Peter McCutcheon, retired bus driver.