'It was amazing': Birthday surprise vintage bus tour for woman with Down's syndrome
- Credit: Sally Patterson
A Hornchurch woman has been surprised with an open-top bus tour of her home town as a special Covid-19 compliant birthday celebration.
Victoria Wake, who has Down’s syndrome, was left speechless as she watched the personalised vintage bus roll down the road towards her.
For Victoria's 30th birthday last month, mum Sue had secretly organised the surprise with Ensignbus driver Paul Almeroth.
Victoria told this paper: “When the bus turned up, it was amazing because I didn’t know my mum had planned it, but she pulled it off and I was beside myself.”
Paul and Sue had spent hours the day before decorating the bus with bright signs and balloons.
Paul said: “We all got together to give Victoria a fantastic day.
“The sun shining, everyone smiling and a good-looking bus driver as well.”
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Sat aboard the top deck in the glorious sunshine, Victoria’s father Dave was delighted they had pulled off the surprise.
He said: “I think it was an absolute shock for Victoria when she saw the bus coming along, and we’ve got to thank Ensignbus and Paul for putting this on, because it’s absolutely fantastic.”
Sue agreed: “She’s always liked a treat rather than a present.
“A memory is much better to Victoria than any present you could possibly give her.
“She hangs onto the memories for years.”
Dave added: “She’ll remember this with everyone being on the bus and being the centre of attention, she loves it.
“She’s just incredibly social.”
Victoria couldn’t stop smiling as she rode around Hornchurch, Purfleet and Grays, giggling and joking with friends Charlotte Couchlan and Gemma May.
At the Ensignbus station in Purfleet, chairman Peter Newman presented Victoria with a special cake and presents.
He explained: “We try and do a lot of good for the community.
“We know Victoria loves buses, and we even organised the weather for her as well.”
The next stop was Jackson’s in Romford, a training café for people with learning difficulties, where Victoria has worked for around five years.
As the bus drew up outside, Victoria’s friends abandoned their duties and ran outside to greet the birthday parade.
The staff were then given their very own mini-tour around the block, whooping and cheering as they waved at delighted passers-by.