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Festive fun for all as 'lifeline' service is praised

PUBLISHED: 14:33 19 December 2018

Bact Community Transport held a successful Christmas Party event  for some of the passengers. Picture: Bact

Bact Community Transport held a successful Christmas Party event for some of the passengers. Picture: Bact

Archant

A community transport service, which provides thousands of passenger journeys each year, got into the festive spirit as a special event was successfully held.

Bact Community Transport held a successful Christmas Party event  for some of the passengers. Picture: BactBact Community Transport held a successful Christmas Party event for some of the passengers. Picture: Bact

More than 50 of the Bact Community Transport service’s regular passengers came together to enjoy Christmas lunch and have festive fun at a special party on Saturday.

Driven to Ilketshall St Andrew village hall by their team of volunteer drivers, bact’s Dial-A-Ride and community car passengers tucked into turkey and all the trimmings as well as soup and Christmas pudding.

The three-course meal was cooked by a team comprising bact’s staff, trustees and volunteers.

And on the day, Bellaires bell ringers entertained the guests with a medley of festive tunes.

Bact Community Transport held a successful Christmas Party event  for some of the passengers. Picture: BactBact Community Transport held a successful Christmas Party event for some of the passengers. Picture: Bact

Maggie Maynard, 77, and her friend Dinah Dearman, 95, were driven to the venue from Lowestoft by new volunteer, Teresa Wilkes.

Mrs Maynard said: “We had a great time. It was lovely to meet friends and have a good laugh and the food was really good.”

Following a raffle prize draw, passenger Pat Ford gave a vote of thanks to the volunteers at the end of the meal she said: “Without bact a lot of us wouldn’t go out.

“It is a lifeline.”

Bact Community Transport held a successful Christmas Party event  for some of the passengers. Picture: BactBact Community Transport held a successful Christmas Party event for some of the passengers. Picture: Bact

Each passenger paid £15 for the event covering transport and food, while the raffle raised £123 for bact which increasingly relies on fundraising and donations.

The service is funded by fares, contracts, grants, fundraising and donations.

Phil Mitchell, bact’s chairman, said: “I was delighted to see so many of our regular passengers at the party, and all having so much fun.

“It was a great event and I’d like to say a huge thank you to all the volunteers who made it possible.”

The bact service relies entirely on volunteers to transport passengers, but bact has a shortage of volunteer drivers in the Waveney and South Norfolk areas and urgently needs more.

A spokesman said: “Volunteers either drive their own cars – for which there is a mileage allowance of 45p per mile – or drive bact’s vehicles, which are adapted to take wheelchairs and carry those needing more assistance.

“Some volunteers drive for us every day of the week and others only drive a few hours a month.

“The arrangement might be on a regular or irregular basis: bact adapts to suit the volunteers.”

Visit www.bactcommunitytransport.org.uk/ for details.

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