Red and White Day held at the Ferry Inn, Beachley. ……review By Nicky Reason
The annual Red and White day at Beachley, Gloucestershire, has become an annual event at the Old Ferry Inn under the shadow of the Severn Bridge with most of the surviving Red and White buses attending, along with a number of Western Welsh and other local visitors, there were mixed emotions of pleasure and sadness for two of our most well known participants, Ken and Shirley joint owners of the splendid 1949 built Red & White, Duple bodied Guy Arab MkIII, L1749 (HWO342). This was their last event with the bus on which they spent 10 years as bus crew together operating the Cardiff – Gloucester service from the old Chepstow depot of Red & White Services Ltd. with Ken’s 80th birthday rapidly approaching he felt it time to call it a day, but assures us he will stay in touch with the South Wales area rally events. We all wish Ken and Shirley all the best for the future.
HWO342 has been the subject of a few articles in various Bus Magazines but for those who may have missed them here is a brief history of the bus. New to Red and White in 1949 and bought for the Cardiff to Gloucester service, along with her five other sisters vehicles she regularly plied the route for over ten years. After sale by Red & White to a smaller private operator she was eventually left to rot but in 1992 Doug and Jason Allen saved her from the scrap yard, where so many beautiful old vehicles have met their fate. Ten years later Andy Mayo courageously purchased the rotten hulk of (L1749) HWO342 and started to rebuild her. Ken came to help and two years later he purchased the bus. Since that date HWO342 has been a regular participant at vintage and classic vehicle events in this area.
A presentation was given to Ken and Shirley at mid-day by the members of the Reliance Group whose Red & White Bristol RE service bus was a bit off colour so could not attend but the Western Welsh AEC Reliance WKG 284 attended in her place.
Along with sales stands and some very interesting displays, one being a model of the “Severn Princess” one of the ferries which plied the waters of the Bristol Channel between Beachley and Aust before the construction of the first Severn Bridge, which opened in 1966. After a stay in Ireland, she is now in the process of being restored to her former glory with the help of “Mabey Bridge”, a local engineering firm in Chepstow.
HWO342 was driven very well by Andy Mayo and a coach from the former Red and White fleet, Leyland Tiger PS1, HWO323 (C350) also took many of the visitors to the Dean Forest Railway where some took a short journey by diesel train to Norchard Station, while the remainder went on by bus to Lydney Bus Station for a photo shoot. We then traveled to Norchard on the way back to Beachley, with Ken now driving, for an excellent lunch at the Ferry Inn.
In the afternoon Ken took his second favourite girl, (Shirley being his first), on a long drive via Shirenewton and Devauden and back though Chepstow to return to The Ferry Inn. So many wanted to travel on Ken’s last drive we needed a Dupe in the form of OAX 9F (RC968) to Lydney. OAX 9F is a Leyland engined Bristol RELH coach with the standard ECW bodywork, bought to serve the Associated Motorway route that the Tilling group previously operated before the birth of National Express. An ex-Royal Blue driver attending the Red and White day told me “we envied the Red and White drivers, we followed them out of Victoria to the motorway and then they were gone, our Gardner engines just didn’t have the grunt”. An ex Red and White driver said even the famous BMMO C5 coaches had a problem keeping up with our Leyland engined RE’s. I am sure those comments may well prompt some replies from some quarters but I am only repeating what I was told.
The Day is not a large bus gathering but is a friendly one. Only 14 buses/coaches attended along with a few cars and a solitary motorbike. One last mention on a very pleasurable occasion was the ex Cottrells, Volvo B58-56, GDF332V which attended its first rally. It was new in 1979 with a Plaxton C51F body. Now returned to Cottrell’s colours and looking wonderful, Allen Cottrell drove it for the first time, this was his father Bruce’s coach and only Bruce drove it until it was sold after 20 years service. Cottrells was started by Allen’s great, great, great grandfather Christopher in 1881 with a horse and cart. The firm closed in 31st July 2007 after 126 years of serving the Foresters (as the people of the Forest of Dean are known).
Red and White day will be back next year towards the end of September and we hope to see you there.

April 4th, 2014

Posted In: Past Events

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