The British Polio Fellowship
Worthing & Sussex Branch
Registered Charity no. 1108335

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Polio Games Feb 6th 2009

After months of preparation and hard work by Mary this year’s attendance by the south of England team was noticeable by its absence.

Two bus loads of dedicated athletes were prepared for the dash to Leicester but neither of us made it. The Sutton team cancelled at the last minute, not certain why yet, but we landed ourselves in far more trouble.

All was going well on our way to collect four more people from chandlers ford, when we heard this rumbling sound as we passed a truck on the M27, thought no more of it, but when we arrived at Madeleine’s we notice that the side panel of the bus had fallen off, the panel was about 15 feet long, and was part of the cowling that covered the rear tyres. Jim phoned the bus controller, and was told not too worry and carry on.

All loaded and off we went, a few miles up the M3 the snow began to settle all around us, it looked lovely although a little worrying, hoping it wouldn’t slow us down too much, however 15 miles up the A43 towards Leicester Martin in the driving seat exclaimed “Clutch” and blow me down but the clutch had failed as he was changing down a gear as we approached an incline, so Martin had to pull the bus up on the side of the dual carriageway. 

So there we were on the side of this main road with cars and lorries just missing us as they passed, the bus was in a very dangerous spot indeed, the RAC and Police were notified immediately.

Before the emergency vehicles turned up, a lorry driver pulled up behind us, came to the bus and asked if we had called the emergency services, pointing out that the bus was in a particularly dangerous spot, as vehicles could not see us as they came around the slight bend in the road, but said that he would leave his lorry behind us to protect us in the event of a car or lorry running into the back of us, in addition to this, this good Samaritan walked a couple of hundred yards down the road to wave drivers into the outside lane long before they reached us, what a nice man.

A few phone calls later to pinpoint our position and the police and RAC arrived, the police asked the lorry driver to give us a tow, which he duly did, and towed us a few miles up the road to the next service station where we all made for the little chef to warm up a bit, the heating on the bus was little short of useless, the door didn’t shut properly, making it not only very noisy, but letting in a constant blast of freezing cold air, anyway, we made a small collection for this very helpful lorry driver but he wouldn’t accept it, wanting the money to be donated to a cancer charity, what a very nice man.

Once inside the little chef I told the young Lady of our predicament, telling her that 13 people would be coming in, I naively thought she would be pleased for a little extra work, especially as there were only two other customers in the whole restaurant, but no, she said, you could have warned us, I politely said we didn’t even know where we were, let alone having their telephone number to hand, the rest of the staff however were very helpful and accommodating. 

Martin then got a wheelchair out of the bus and one by one pushed each of the remaining polios from the bus through the ice and snow to the doors of the little chef, then returned and carried the bags off as well, he just had time for a quick cup of coffee before the tow truck arrived and off he went again, this time in the cab of the tow truck to take him and the bus back to Lancing, a truly magnificent effort and all our thanks go to Martin for a super job well done. 

Soon after, the fleet of taxi’s turned up to take us back home, and although they could have taken us on to Leicester, the broken bus would have to come with us, and the thought of getting it repaired in Leicester in time for our return trip wasn’t really on, so the organiser decided rightly that returning home was the only sensible course to take.

So by 9pm we were home again, not a medal in sight, but at least we were all safe and well, and ready for next year events. 

That’s life.


Below the only pictures I took 


  Terry Maureen and Karen


On our way back hone