Rick’s key role in minibus handover

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TRIPS out will be easier and more comfortable for residents of Cornwallis Court thanks to their new custom- built minibus.

The £37,000 bus was handed over to the Bury St Edmunds home on Saturday, on behalf of the Freemasons by former Yes keyboard player Rick Wakeman, who is a mason and lives near Diss.

Paul Oldfield, secretary of the Friends of Cornwallis Court retirement home, said the money for a minibus was raised by the Freemasons’ provinces covering Suffolk, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire.

The masonic home, which looks after 75 people, had been using an ageing standard minibus for shopping trips to Bury and day trips.

But Paul said: “The one we’ve bought is totally flexible. You can take seats out to put wheelchairs in. It has separate heating for the back and a drop down TV so we can play a DVD on long journeys.”

It was built by Grebe Coaches in Beccles which specialises in transporting people with mobility problems. Adaptations include a wheelchair lift stowed under the floor, a powered step and tall, thermally insulated windows so wheelchair occupants can see out.

“It’s like a Rolls-Royce compared to the old one,” Paul said.

The Friends are now trying to raise £35,000 to complete a project to instal special baths with lifting gear.