Apprentices in fast lane for Lord Mayor’s Show

The top team of apprentices and experienced craftsmen at Bluebird Vehicles Ltd who are restoring a 1929 Leyland Tiger TS2 bus, now working to get it ready for the Lord Mayor's Parade, through the City of London on Saturday 12 November.'From left, Mick Wilks, Duncan Ibbotson, Mick Casey, Robbie Crowe, Jordan Mintoft, Bernard Moment, and Richard Cowling.  Pictures by Andrew Higgins  113346b  19/08/11
The top team of apprentices and experienced craftsmen at Bluebird Vehicles Ltd who are restoring a 1929 Leyland Tiger TS2 bus, now working to get it ready for the Lord Mayor's Parade, through the City of London on Saturday 12 November.'From left, Mick Wilks, Duncan Ibbotson, Mick Casey, Robbie Crowe, Jordan Mintoft, Bernard Moment, and Richard Cowling. Pictures by Andrew Higgins 113346b 19/08/11

Scarborough has been chosen for a special role in the prestigious Lord Mayor’s Show in London, which attracts hundreds of thousands of people and is broadcast live on TV.

Thanks to the efforts of three young Scarborough apprentices, the historic and colourful pageant will include a restored vintage coach.

The apprentices at Bluebird Vehicles have helped to restore an 82-year-old Leyland Tiger bus back to its former glory – with the help of 66-year-old Bernard Moment, an experinced coach-builder who came out of retirement to help them.

The Scarborough entry could be the only non-London participant in the capital’s big cavalcade.

Bluebird was asked to get involved after the incoming Lord Mayor of London, Bradford-born David Wootton, invited tourism agency Welcome to Yorkshire to enter the parade.

Its chief executive Gary Verity, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to promote our county. The Leyland Tiger will be a proud Yorkshire entry into the Lord Mayor’s Show.”

The apprentices, 21-year-old Robbie Crowe, Michael Casey, 19, and Duncan Hibberton, 17, have managed to restore the bus using only grainy black and white pictures for guidance.

After almost two years of hard work on the project, the team is set to display their craftsmanship to a crowd of half a million people, as well as a television audience of around three million, at the parade on November 12.

Robbie is in the third year of his apprenticeship with the company, and said: “It’ll be a day I don’t think any of us will forget in a hurry.”

Colleague Michael, who is in his second year, said: “It will be brilliant as we’ve been promised that we’ll all be on the bus for the London parade, so I don’t think any of us can wait.”

In total, 15 passengers will be on the bus for the three-mile route, including Scarborough MP Robert Goodwill, as well as the rest of the projects team, which includes 66-year-old Mr Moment.

After working at the company for 48 years, he retired last year.

However, shortly afterwards he was asked to come back and lend his expertise, as well as his knowledge of the vehicle, to the apprentices.

Ever since, he has been assisting the youngsters every Friday with the restoration, and is now helping put the finishing touches on the bus before it embarks on its first working journey in over 50 years.

He said: “I retired but I never really left.

“When I first seen the bus, I nearly fainted. It’s not a restoration it’s a mammoth. But everybody has worked themselves into the ground getting it done and it’s coming along nicely.

He also praised the camaraderie among the group, even if he has often found himself at the butt of some of the apprentices jokes.

“When somebody said that it was originally built in 1929, one of them asked if I had built it. Still, they’re still a smashing group of lads and this will do them proud.”

The project, which is estimated to have cost tens of thousands of pounds, will make its debut at a trade show in Birmingham in October before heading to London for the show.

Last year the Whitby steam bus took part, with claps and cheers among the crowd.