OAPs’ Great Escape using their bus passes

No walking bus: Jeff Whittle, far right, and 22 fellow pensioners are preparing for a big challenge
No walking bus: Jeff Whittle, far right, and 22 fellow pensioners are preparing for a big challenge

A group of pensioners are preparing for a great escape – with the help of their trusty bus passes.

The friends from Leyland are being led by cancer survivor Jeff Whittle, and will set off today, April 3, to see how far they can get.

The 22 intrepid challengers will set off from Leyland Methodist Church for the 9.30am bus – the earliest time that bus passes can be used – and will go in pairs on their own individually pre-planned routes, with the objective of being the couple to cover the most miles during the day.

Jeff, 68, organised the challenge after he was inspired by the care he received while he was undergoing treatment for cancer at the Rosemere Cancer Centre based at Royal Preston Hospital last year.

The grandfather, who got the all clear from cancer of the oesophagus just after Christmas, signed up fellow members of the congregation from Leyland Methodist Church to take part in the ‘Great Escape’.

He said: “The treatment I received at Royal Preston Hospital was amazing and I realised many of the extras which make things easier for patients were there because of Rosemere.

“I wanted to do something to say thank you, but marathons and sponsored walks aren’t my thing.

“I’d always wondered how far my bus pass could take me in a day, and so I thought this would be the perfect way to put that to the test.”

Jeff, a retired project engineer for Protec Fire Detection who has lived in Leyland since 1994, and his wife Ann, 66, will be joined by 20 other members of the congregation.

Although the challengers are keeping their routes under wraps for now, there have been rumours that York, Chester and Carlisle will be some of the destinations that they will be dropping off in.

Each time they change buses they will be texting into Great Escape HQ, where their route will be plotted in order to calculate who has travelled the furthest.

Laura Stephenson, area fund-raising coordinator for Rosemere Cancer Foundation, said: “This is the first event of its kind that we’ve had for Rosemere and we’re really excited to see who makes it furthest.

“What Jeff has planned just shows that fund-raising is all about using your creativity.”

To sponsor Jeff and his friends, email jeffann183@btinternet.com.