Retired nursery nurse, Margaret Swallow from Stalybridge, has celebrated her upcoming 80th birthday by driving a Stagecoach double decker bus.
Margaret, who celebrates her birthday on Tuesday (18th September), has always wanted to get behind the wheel and had made no secret about her desire to drive the 18-tonne vehicle.
Instead of flowers or chocolates, Margaret’s son, Adrian Trudgeon, reached out to Stagecoach Manchester to arrange the four-wheeled surprise, which took place at the bus company’s Ashton-Under-Lyne depot.
Aided by Stagecoach Manchester training manager, Peter Reid, Margaret successfully drove the double decker bus and completed the training circuit.
Speaking about the occasion, Margaret said: “Naturally, I was apprehensive when I first found out what Adrian had arranged. I’ve been driving for most of my life but until today, I have never been behind the wheel of a bus.
“It was a really exhilarating experience and once the nerves had worn off, I had a real adrenaline rush – it was a lot of fun. I must say thanks to the team at Stagecoach for making this possible.”
To celebrate her accomplishment, Margaret was presented with a medal and certificate by the Stagecoach Manchester team.
Commenting on the surprise, Stagecoach Manchester managing director, Elisabeth Tasker, said: “When we received the request from Adrian, we immediately knew we wanted to help make this happen. It’s such an unusual request – not many 80-year-olds can say that they have driven a double decker bus for their birthday. Hats off to Margaret and Happy Birthday from everyone at Stagecoach!”