The 75-year-old was the first resident at Colten Care’s The Aldbury in Poole to step aboard the £70,000 Mercedes Sprinter Landliner.
“Absolutely lovely and very comfortable. I shall be looking forward to lots of trips out in this,” said Pam.
The high specification minibus can seat up to nine passengers as well as three wheelchairs.
It has been designed and specified with dementia residents in mind, including distinctive red seats.
The arrival of the new minibus has generated great excitement. Residents and staff wrote special poems with popular driver Kevin Surgeon receiving special mention.
One poem included the lines:
‘Kevin, we want to ride on our lovely new bus,
It’s white with big wheels and amazing red seats,
We’ve been riding buses since our feet would dangle,
With its long shape, it’s like wheels on a rectangle.’
The poem continues:
‘We love our new Colten Care bus; it’s the best in the fleet,
Kevin has talked non-stop of it for weeks,
Now come on Kevin strap us in our seats, turn up the music so we can feel the beat,
A barley sugar sweet on the way is always a special treat.’
Denise Arthur-Briskham, The Aldbury’s Home Manager, said: “Our weekly trips out are a big feature for our residents and a new minibus is, therefore, an event of great excitement.
“Our team work hard to help residents enjoy themselves. A minibus allowing them to enjoy this beautiful area with picnics and trips out is an important part of our activity programme at The Aldbury.”
The vehicle will join a four-strong minibus fleet at Colten Care which has 19 homes in Dorset, Hampshire and Wiltshire. It is expected to clock up about 20,000 miles annually.
Apart from The Aldbury, the minibus will also be used for trips by residents at Colten Care’s Canford Chase home in Poole, Amberwood House in Ferndown, Brook View in West Moors and Bournemouth’s Avon Cliff