Give a ‘Pals Bus’ gift certificate this Christmas

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Enthusiasts are being asked to donate to help restore an Accrington Pals-liveried bus this Christmas and receive a specially designed, personalised gift certificate.

The Pals Bus as it is today

The 1975 Leyland Leopard, JFV 295N, is one of the last remaining examples of a Hyndburn Transport vehicle painted in the blue and red colours of the 11th Service Battalion (Accrington) East Lancashire Regiment, better known as the Accrington Pals. The bus is owned by local charity Accrington Heritage Trust, which plans to restore the bus. The vehicle is currently housed at the Town & District Transport Trust in Great Harwood, and it is expected that work will cost around £14,000.

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JFV 295N was Hyndburn’s fleet number 42. Its chassis, number 7401305 was new in 1974, but it was not until February 1975 that this and identical chassis 7401304 were bodied by East Lancs Coachbuilders with their then new Elizabethan coach bodywork. Only three such bodies were ever constructed, numbered 3101-3, two on a Leopard chassis for Halton Borough Transport (Widnes) (JFV 294N and JFV 295N) and a further one on a Seddon Pennine chassis (STC 986M) for Accrington Corporation as its fleet number 38.

Upon delivery to Halton they became fleet numbers 8 and 9, intended for private hire and coaching work. In 1983, both coaches were rebodied as service buses by East Lancs. The Halton pair were bought by Hyndburn Transport as fleet numbers 41 and 42 in 1988, however neither entered immediate service with Hyndburn. They were hired out to Badger Buses of Sussex and painted in Cream with deep blue skirts in an arrangement which lasted until January 1989 and during the subsequent year JFV295N was hired to Abbeyways and Stuarts for short periods. It was not until July 1990 that 41 was painted in the blue and red ‘Accrington Pals’ livery, 42 following in September 1990.

The blue melton and red pinstripe were the dress colours of the Accrington Pals Battalion when it was formed. The material was given by Burtons but was unpopular with the troops as they felt it made them look like tram conductors. The colours were adopted by Accrington Transport Committee for its first buses in 1928 along with black window frames.

The two Leopards passed to Stagecoach Ribble in 1996, and 42 remained in the Accrington Pals livery but was withdrawn from service in 1997.

It was purchased for preservation in March of that year, and stored in the open until 2017 when it was acquired by Accrington Heritage Trust, and is now in indoor storage.

For anyone seeking an unusual and worthy Christmas gift, a beautifully designed gift certificate is now available on the website for all donations, and supporters will receive a digital copy of the certificate, while those donating £100 or more will receive a framed copy, posted anywhere in the UK.

www.amazingaccrington.co.uk/palsbus/

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