40th anniversary of Gretton’s Wondertours

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A DAY trip to Birmingham on Saturday marked the 40th anniversary of Gretton’s Wondertours.

This annual series of excursions and weekend breaks is run by a village community transport group that includes well-known villager David Fursdon who started organising the outings single-handedly when he was a teenager.

“I was 14 years of age when I ran the first trip. I worked on Saturday mornings delivering meat orders for Gretton butcher the late Joe Brookes. Talking to customers on my round, many said they felt isolated after the closure of the village railway station and missed getting out and about as much as they used to,” says David.

He booked a coach to connect with a Merrymaker mystery train excursion from Kettering that went to Hastings. Several more such trips were run and, after the Merrymaker rail service declined, journeys to destinations all around the country were made by coach only.

“They have just got more popular year by year. We are just like a big family and many friendships have been made along the way,” David says.

In 1996 Hazel Shepherd took over as organiser.

“She did a wonderful job for eight years until I was in a position to take on the role again,” says David.

All 57 seats were booked for Saturday’s historic outing and a further 18 day trips and two Wonder-weekends are planned for the rest of 2012.

“We have had many happy, memorable days and we also think, especially at this time of celebrating our ruby anniversary, of all the friends who are sadly no longer with us. The group would not have enjoyed the success it has without the support of loyal passengers,” says David.

The community transport group is run on a voluntary not-for-profit basis and represents great value for money for passengers. Information folders and maps are always provided on the coach so that everyone can make the most of the time at the places they visit.

“Wondertours has delivered a traditional, reliable service over four decades and it is indeed a proud occasion as we continue on our travels. It has been a pleasure giving something back to the community and meeting so many people from all walks of life and we shall carry on coaching,” David says.

The tours serve Gretton, Weldon, Corby and Kettering but residents of Rutland, Leicestershire and Lincolnshire also join in. Copies of the 2012 programme are available from David. Send an SAE to WTCT, 9, Southfield Rd, Gretton, Northants. NN17 3BX.