Safeguard celebrates centenary

Guildford bus and coach operator Safeguard Coaches has staged a hugely successful celebration of its 100 years in the industry.

The centenary event saw seven heritage buses drafted in from a number of collections to offer three free bus services around the West Surrey town, all terminating at the main celebration at Guildford Cathedral, where Safeguard also displayed its 1956 Burlingham-bodied AEC Reliance, and a newly-acquired 1963 Bedford J2 with Plaxton Embassy body, which has come into the Safeguard fleet via Empress of Hastings.

The J2 was previously owned by Safeguard and has reacquired after a 55-year absence. The Guildford-based company first acquired the coach with the business of Cookes of Stoughton in 1966.

Two new Plaxton Leopards to PSVAR with 70 seats had joined the fleet just days earlier and were on display. The static display also included the 1925 Dennis 4 ton with Dodson bodywork which, like others, is in the care of the London Bus Museum.

The event attracted a huge number of people, including bus enthusiasts from around the country and local families, who were entertained not only by the Safeguard team but by a petting zoo, miniature traction engine rides, barbecue, an impressive array of memorabilia sales but first and foremost the chance to ride on the heritage vehicles and, indeed, on some of the company’s modern fleet on a shuttle service.

The day kicked off with an official opening at 12.20, followed by performances from the local Rock Choir and brass band. Local historian David Rose told the story of Safeguard to a rapt audience in the pews of the cathedral, and a fund-raising raffle ended the afternoon. The evening saw a warm-up by journalist David Guest, and Safeguard Director David Newman and MD Andrew Halliday, welcome guests.

ALBUM Chair Bill Hiron took to the floor to congratulate Safeguard, followed by a cake cutting and buffet.

The sale of limited-edition centenary souvenir booklets and goody bags, a raffle, and a collection resulted in a total of £5,239 being raised for The Fountain Centre on the day. The Fountain Centre was chosen in loving memory of Safeguard’s late Engineering Manager, Brett Lambley.

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