Green message for green national

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Meanwhile, Paul Llewellyn, who joined Southdown age 21 in the early 1980s as its youngest driver, has recreated a piece of the company’s history with a serious message.

Southdown outshopped ‘Queen Mary’ Leyland PD3, registration 415DCD, in a guise promoting ‘Beautiful Britain.’ Now Paul has had the scheme on his preserved Leyland National PCD80R, new to Southdown in 1977. “I always wondered what the Beautiful Britain theme would have looked like on a Leyland National,” Paul explained.

Paul worked as a driver at Southdown’s at Uckfield and Haywards Heath depots before becoming depot inspector at Eastbourne and inspector in charge at Haywards Heath. He left Stagecoach in 1991 to pursue an alternative career as a landscape gardener before returning to the industry as a driver for Countryline at Burgess Hill, then Sussex Bus and now works for Compass Bus.

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His Leyland National was found with a farmer at Rye who had used it to transport hop pickers. Withdrawn by Stagecoach in 1998, the bus later ran with Renown Coaches of Bexhill. Paul acquired the vehicle in 2010 and it was extensively restored by South East Coachworks at Faversham, Kent, who also produced and fitted the Beautiful Britain decals.

Paul said: “The message I want to put across is that the public should get out of their cars and back on the buses. Bus companies should work together to promote this rather than being at each other’s throats.”