SUNDAY school pupils presented a bus-mad priest with his own giant bus pass.
Father Mike Sheffield, Parish Priest at St George’s Church, Waterlooville, was surprised by his congregation when they broke into song to celebrate him turning 63 – the age when you can get a free bus pass.
Very unusually for him, he was lost for wordsLynda Sheffield
As they all sang The Wheels on the Bus, Fr Mike could not hide his joy at their creation.
He said: ‘I’ve always loved buses and my congregation know that.
‘I think it all began when I was a boy in Essex and travelled to school on the bus.
‘Ever since then I’ve loved them and was looking forward to getting my bus pass.
‘But obviously I had to wait because the age you get them has been pushed back from 60 to 63.’
As well as singing to him, the congregation presented Fr Mike with a huge cake with a bright red bus on it.
His wife Lynda said: ‘Very unusually for him, he was completely lost for words.’
To celebrate his birthday Fr Mike made the most of his pass and went on an eight-hour bus trip from Waterlooville, through Havant, on to Chichester and Selsey, then back again.
He said: ‘It was a lovely day. Bright and beautiful.
‘I took my wife Lynda with me, although she doesn’t share my passion for busses.
‘We took the 700 and the 51 down to Selsey.
‘My next trip is going to be north to Petersfield, then Winchester and back round in a circle. I’m really looking forward to it.’
Unusually, Fr Mike is not a fan of old buses.
His favourite is the Enviro 400 – a double decker with all the mod cons, used by Stagecoach for the local 700 Coastliner service.
Fr Mike said: ‘It’s definitely the modern ones I like rather than the old ones.
‘The Enviro 400’s chassis is actually made in Guildford, although the body is made in Scotland.’