Having now delivered my books to Downing Street I can say that a copy of each book is both at number 10 Downing Street as well as Buckingham Palace.
The ‘Bewbush Playbus was a project started with funds from ‘The Queen’s Silver Jubilee’ Community funding. Over the years, as a way of promoting the charity and its work, a photographic display was often seen at events and in the local library. The aim was to show not only what the bus could offer but also to promote its mobility.
I have often said that I made two mistakes with the bus over the years:-
Mistake number 1:- It was never called ‘Bewbush’ Playbus. It was originally named ‘Supersonic Bus’ and was given to Crawley. However, as Bewbush was then a new area of the town most of its work was undertaken here and Bewbush took on the management. When my son joined the Playbus playgroup the name on the bus had been painted over so I did not know its true name. I offered to re-paint the bus and against all the odds I managed to get this done and it looked good and eye-catching once again.
Mistake number 2. I had painted the bus with eye-catching designs that I thought the playgroup children might like. It was painted with the nursery rhyme characters for the young playgroup children to sing along to and enjoy. The final designs looked colourful and bright BUT now the older children did not want to use the bus as the designs looked babyish. If only they would come along inside!
This meant that now we had a hard task of getting people to see beyond the outside image and to look at what the project could offer the community. It was hard work with constant fund-raising not only for the existing bus but also to buy a newer replacement mobile project which we hoped might be used by all ages. But I never made the mistake of getting involved.
The project having finally closed its doors in 2005 I decided to put the photographs into a book. I wanted the book to be ready for ‘The Diamond Jubilee’ year. I managed to achieve this and sent a copy to her Majesty the Queen. I was pleased when I receive a letter of thanks.
Following its publication I have been pleasantly surprised by the reactions it brings from people and the find memories of those who knew it. I was also surprised that the children, although they did not know it, were interested in knowing more.
As a result, and in my role as a supply teacher, I told the story of the bus verbally to the children in passing to the classes I visited and in reply to many of their questions. This in turn became a written story, although at first far too long! Eventually I decided to get the book published and finally it was ready.
So now ‘Supersonic’ has his name back, both in Fact and Fiction book form.
I thought that her Majesty might like a copy of this book too so I sent it to Buckingham Palace. I am sure she will not read it herself but perhaps there are a few younger royals who might have it read to them! Maybe baby George?