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Archive image of the month – March

Project Freewheel Mini Bus

bus leaf crop

Courtesy of University of Dundee Archive Services

Image of a Wayfarer Wondabus taken from a leaflet outlining the bus specification. It was made by the bus manufacturers for the garage selling the bus, McLay’s Garage Limited, Dunbartonshire. The leaflet was donated by Lynda Murdach in 2015 during the project and deposited with Dundee University Archive Services where people are able to view it.

Until the beginning of the 1970s residents and staff were restricted to the hospital grounds and the local area for days out and trips away. This was because cars and buses were still a luxury and the hospital could not afford to buy their own transport. The Parents’ and Friends’ Association was formed and they decided that they would try and raise the funds to buy a modified bus so that residents and staff could travel around.

Members of nursing staff from Ward Six, the Nurses Home and other wards organised and took part in a sponsored walk to raise funds. The walk was close to the Sydlaw Hills north of the hospital and was over twenty miles. Together with other donations, the staff raised £4000 (about £56,000 in today’s money) to buy a Wayfarer Wondabus, Strathmartine’s first mode of transport. The bus was ordered and delivered to the hospital a short time later. Reverend Clarkson led a moment of thanks and the bus and keys were handed over to the hospital.

There is little doubt that the kindness and generosity of staff and other benefactors changed the lives of many residents who were now able to go away for days out to other places, visit the cinema and carnival, go for picnics and holidays to places like Little Carnie in Arbroath. The story reflects the incredible bond between staff and residents and their journey together to overcome obstacles and push the boundaries of possible and the impossible. Only at Strathmartine!