Appeal to bring back vintage bus

Keith Kitching hopes to restore a vintage bus
Keith Kitching hopes to restore a vintage bus
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A SCARBOROUGH bus enthusiast is lending his support to a campaign to bring a vintage bus home from Belgium.

Keith Kitching, of Filey Road, has joined the campaign to bring home a Bristol-ECW Lodekka THN 263F (L263) after it was found in Melle, near Ghent.

The vehicle (pictured) was part of the United Automobile Services fleet and was new to United in 1968, working from Scarborough depot.

In May 1971 it was transferred from Scarborough to Darlington, then in 1973 it was part of the National Bus Company/Scottish Bus Group vehicle exchange, which saw it move to the Western Scottish Motor Traction Company.

It had a Gardner 6LX engine, which was considered to be one of the best.

Mr Kitching, who worked for United from 1969 to 1973, and at 21 was their youngest ever driver, said: “United Automobile Service Ltd no longer exists as a company and it was thought that all of its Bristol FLF Lodekka buses had either emigrated to America to have their ‘tops’ cut off for tourist services or had been scrapped.

“But it turns out they haven’t! This one has turned up in Belgium nearly 40 years after it left Scarborough. It would be wonderful if we could bring it back to this part of the world.”

One of Mr Kitching’s friends from the North East Bus Preservation Group has now set up an appeal to have the bus repatriated.

Ian Findlay, of Washington, Tyne and Wear, has negotiated a price of 1750 euros, approximately £1,500, to buy the bus, with transportation costs bringing the figure to around £3,000.

He said: “If you would like this vehicle to return to the North East, please send a donation no matter how small.

“We are extremely lucky to have found this vehicle and to do nothing is not an option.”

He would also like people to get in touch if they would be interested in helping restore the bus.

Mr Findlay said all donations will be identified as “Dedicated Giving” so they cannot be used for anything else without the donor’s permission.

As usual, Gift Aid will increase donations by a further 28 per cent, provided the donor is a UK taxpayer.

For more information, or to donate, go to or email

Alternatively, donation forms can be obtained by writing to Ian Findlay, Lodekka Rescue Fund, 1 Gullane, Usworth, Washington, NE37 1SE.