Elderly people are back on the road after a Sheffield group secured a new bus to replace one destroyed by arsonists.
Gleadless Valley Community Forum organisers are celebrating after collecting their new bus, which is used for taking isolated people to lunch clubs, activity sessions and shopping trips.
The original vehicle –which had been donated by millionaire Dr Chai Patel – was gutted by arsonists who went on a wrecking spree in February.
Organisers also faced an uphill struggle to get insurance for the new vehicle as their old insurers QBE said they were too ‘high risk’ – and feared they would not get the bus back on the road as a result.
However, they managed to find an insurer at the last minute and the bus made its first journey yesterday.
Steve Rundell, forum general manager, said: “It took us a lot of effort to get insurance but we managed it in the end.
“QBE refused to even consider insuring us and said we were too high risk.
“It was no fault of ours that the bus was attacked -– all the elderly people who use it were really concerned and thought they would be stuck in the house again.”
Forum members collected the bus from Ben Weaver Commercials in Pitsmoor, which has given them a discounted price.
Since the attack they have been using a minibus borrowed from Ascot Lodge care home, part of Dr Patel’s HC-One business, but it was designed for wheelchair users and did not have enough seats.
Insurance covered the cost of replacing the vehicle, but the group have also been fundraising to pay for the many adaptations it requires.
Mr Rundell said: “Having this new bus just makes everything perfect and back to normal.
“Everyone is thrilled with it.”