‘Van man’ ready to go that extra mile

Age Concern driver Donald Thomson
Age Concern driver Donald Thomson

Vital service that helps 130 elderly folk

Charity bus driver Donald Thomsom is putting in the miles in a bid to raise enough money to buy a new minibus for the elderly of Glenrothes.

Donald is a ‘weel kent’ face on the roads around the new town having been driving old folks from their homes to local day centres in the region for over four years.

And for the last two and a half years he’s been doing around 400 miles per week for Age Concern Glenrothes who have a number of dedicated day centres in Glenrothes and the surrounding communities.

But with a minibus that is now over 13 years old Donald and his colleagues has decided to organise a number of fundraising events in a bid to try and raise £30,000 to be able to purchase a brand new, state-of-the-art bus that’ll have added features such as a wheelchair lift.

“The bus we have now is just about coming to the end of the road,” Donald told the Gazette.

“It’s been a good servant but we really do need something more up-to-date for transporting the region’s old folks around the town.

“But with funding becoming more difficult to secure we’ve decided to set ourselves a challenge to see if we can raise the cash ourselves,” he added.

With raffles, a quiz night at Cadham Community Centre and a few other fundraising initiatives, Donald and his colleagues have already hit the road running having raised over £1000 in just six weeks.

Fiona Mackay, Age Concern Glenrothes manager said the minibus service often offers the elderly their only means of contact with the wider community.

“Many of the 130 elderly people that we help are living in social isolation so the door-to-door service is vital and often their only chance to interact with other people,” explained Fiona.

“There are also a number of clients who have been diagnosed with dementia issues and for them to use a taxi is impractical, so with the transport we offer with a dedicated driver it’s a vital service for them too.

“We have plans to have a few high profile fundraising events to boost the efforts in the new year too which will give us a better chance of securing some funding from charitable trusts in the future,” added Fiona.

Anyone wanting to help can contact Fiona on 01592-756316.