Thursday, October 25, 2012
Axe Valley and West Dorset Ring and Ride officials deplore “despicable” attack on Axminster volunteer, robbed of £75
Organisers of a cash-strapped charity bus service have been left shocked and outraged after one of their drivers was mugged for his meagre week’s takings.
The volunteer with the Axe valley and West Dorset Ring and Ride service was on his way to the bank with £75 in ticket fares when he pushed against a wall and robbed.
The 65-year-old Axminster man was left unhurt but shaken up in the attack, which happened during a trip to Bridport.
This week ring and ride chairman Sandra Ward, from Kilmington, spoke of her dismay over their driver’s “despicable” ordeal – and of the loss of money the group could ill afford.
She said: “It was a terrible thing to rough up a driver to steal £75 of hard-earned and very sorely needed money from a charity.
“The money means a hell of a lot to us. It costs about £52,000 to run the service and we are already cut back to the bone as it is.
“It’s a dreadful loss to a small charity and a sad reflection on society and Bridport.”
But since the robbery there has been some better news for the service.
Axminster Town Council has backed a plan to use money from the new parishes together fund to buy the group a better bus.
Mayor Andrew Moulding suggested it was an ideal scheme on which to spend the money as it would benefit many communities, both towns and villages.
He said under the rules they could not use the fund to help meet the bus running costs but a one-off payment for a replacement vehicle was acceptable.
He said a new bus might even enable the ring and ride operators to extend the service which provides a vital door-to-door transport link for many elderly and disabled people.
Ms Ward applauded the idea and told The Herald: “I welcome the initiative by Axminster Town Council and would earnestly hope that the villages and towns in the surrounding area, which are covered by the Axe Valley and West Dorset Ring and Ride Service, would contact Axminster council and offer to help co ordinate a joint bid.” Advice about donations and any queries about the legacies should be directed to Jane Hopson-Hill on 01404 46520 on weekday afternoons.”
* Police have described the bus driver’s attacker as 6ft tall, of slim build with dark hair and about 22 years old. He was wearing blue jeans and a dark coat and ran towards South Mill Lane. After the mugging in South Street.