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Southern Vectis has this week laid out the red carpet for its most famous bus as ‘The Old Girl’ celebrates her 80th birthday. 

The Isle of Wight operator held a special charity vintage tea party yesterday (Tuesday) in honour of its most senior colleague, with all proceeds going to the Royal British Legion.

The Old Girl, a British-made Bristol 5KG, arrived in brand new condition on the Isle of Wight in July 1939 – 42 days before the start of World War II. She entered service as a standard double-decker, taking Islanders and visitors from A to B during 6 years of wartime and thereafter, just as Southern Vectis’ green buses do now.

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Now, the 80-year-old is available for private hire, attending all sorts of special occasions – from weddings, christenings, parties and sightseeing – she’s done them all.

Richard Tyldsley, Southern Vectis’ General Manager, has said:

“We’re proud and honoured to be custodians of the Old Girl as she reaches her 80th birthday.

“She has the distinction of being the oldest double deck bus still in service with her original owner anywhere in the UK – and probably anywhere in the world. This is an accolade worthy of a big celebration”.

Richard continues:

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“The Old Girl has plenty of life in her, and we’re looking forward to many wonderful years still to come.

“We’re using our 80th birthday party to raise funds for the Royal British Legion. Any donations we receive for teas and tours on the day will be donated to this very worthy cause.”


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Mike McDermott

I was there on this lovely day and it was blessed with some lovely weather to celebrate the 80th anniversary of this lovely vehicle, with a nice journey from Ryde out to Nettlestone and Seaview (avoiding a few errant tree branches along the way!). Here’s to her next 80 years in proud service with Southern Vectis…

Jodie Blaize

Gutted to of not known about this, my Grandad drove this Old Girl for years, lovely memories.

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