Help needed to secure Whippet Bedford’s future

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A member of the family which ran legendary independent operator Whippet is appealing for help to secure the future of a coach bought new in 1960. Peter Lee was a director of the Cambridgeshire firm until it sold out to Tower Transit in 2014.

Some 10 years ago, Whippet bought back Bedford SB5 746FEW, which is now believed to be the only Yeates Fiesta-bodied coach to survive. Much work was done on the vehicle prior to the takeover of Whippet, and it was made to run. But Peter explained: “When the bus was moved from our depot at Swavesey, due to the imminent sale of our business to Tower Transit, it was done at some speed. Unfortunately due to this many items that had been stored separately were simply put into the coach – and hopefully these can be removed so we can see what state the vehicle is in now.”

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The Bedford stood outside for some years but has thankfully now been moved to undercover accommodation. Peter continued: “It would be nice to see the project we started come to fruition, however, the costs of doing this in a commercial workshop would be daunting. It would be interesting to hear from anyone who may be able to help in the restoration. Moving forward will be challenging but hopefully something can be achieved.”

Peter is now running his own small-scale operator, PH Lee Services, using two double-deckers on contract work.

Whippet was 100 years old last year. Set up in 1919 by bicycle salesman Henry Lee, the company continues to provide local bus services and National Express contracts. The company is now owned by the Ascendal Group.

Anyone who might be able to help with the restoration should contact Peter on [email protected]