Big launch for new 50s style Bassetlaw Belles bus service

Coun. Pam Skelding cuts the ribbon to launch the Bassetlaw Belles bus service in Retford Market Place on Friday morning.
Coun. Pam Skelding cuts the ribbon to launch the Bassetlaw Belles bus service in Retford Market Place on Friday morning.

A revitalised bus network providing connections between Gainsborough, Worksop, Retford and villages across Bassetlaw has been officially launched.

Two of the 12 newly branded buses were unveiled at the official ribbon-cutting ceremony held in Retford’s market place on Friday.

The launch gave people the chance to find out more about the service, which includes a new route connecting Gainsborough and Doncaster via Beckingham, Walkeringham, West Stockwith, Misterton and Gringley.

Passengers were also able to enjoy a vintage afternoon with 1950s music, games, competitions and puppet show.

Notts county councillors Pam Skelding and Sheila Place, Michelle Hargreaves, managing director of Stagecoach East Midlands and a 1950s dressed up Ruby the Retford Belle were amongst those attending.

The network is being provided by Stagecoach East Midlands under a partnership arrangement with Nottinghamshire County Council, which is providing financial support.

Coun Skelding said: “Bus services connecting rural communities are a key aspect of our transport strategy. The Bassetlaw Belles is a fun new brand and the changes to the service have come about after listening to what people said they wanted to see locally.

“Stagecoach are committed to providing a quality service and it was great to see members of the local community get involved at the launch.”

The Bassetlaw Belles – so-called because of the 50s-style characters emblazoned on each bus – will provide links from villages across Bassetlaw to Gainsborough, Doncaster, Retford, Worksop and Bawtry, encompassing services 21, 22, 25, 27, 29, 42, 43, 95, 97, 98 and 99.

Each bus portrays a traditional occupation relevant to that area, from Marie the Mattersey Belle, a farm hand, and Betty the Bawtry Belle, an RAF belle, to Wendy the Walkeringham Belle, a train station master, named after the village’s former station house.

Michelle Hargreaves, Stagecoach East Midland’s managing director, said: “Travelling by bus should be fun – it’s not like being stuck behind the wheel of a car. You can relax, catch up with emails on your phone, and have a proper chat with people.

“That’s why we created the buses as individual characters. Different communities now have their very own bus and we’re really hoping that people make the most of them and embrace the Bassetlaw Belles.”

Raleigh Gregory, nine, triumphed in a hula-hoop competition at the launch event, winning £200 worth of shopping vouchers for Marshall’s Yard.