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Coach operator honours its oldest passenger

News   •   Nov 01, 2016 11:36 GMT

Cecil Higgins with his named National Express coach.

A remarkable man who is still taking monthly coach trips at the grand old age of 104, has had a National Express coach named after him.

The UK’s largest coach operator has named a coach ‘Cecil’ after Cecil Higgins, who recently celebrated his 104th birthday, and is the oldest passenger to still regularly travel with National Express.

Cecil, who lives in a care home in Sheffield with his 102-year-old brother Douglas, goes once a month from Sheffield Bus Station to organ concerts in Leeds with his five friends: Andrew, Philip, Derek, Grace and John, using National Express services.

The group befriended each other four years ago shortly after Cecil turned 100 after meeting at an organ recital, and they have kept going to concerts in Leeds by coach ever since.

Over the last two years Cecil has started using a wheelchair to make getting around easier, and he has found the chair can be easily transported using National Express’ wheelchair lift which is fitted to all vehicles and carry wheelchair users safely into the coach.

His friend Grace Robinson said: “Cecil always has an interesting tale to tell, usually about his interesting occupation as a stained glass window maker and designer.

“We all have great fun travelling to concerts together and he was really delighted to have a coach named after him and kept beaming all day.”

Cecil was a painter and designer of glass for church and cathedral windows, during World War Two he had to take all of his stained glass windows out of the churches in Sheffield and pack them away to stop them being broken by the bombing.

He grew up and lived in Gleadless and was also an artilleryman during the war. He has a son and a daughter, though his wife died a few years ago.

In addition to having his name on the coach National Express is providing Cecil and his friends with free travel to concerts in Leeds - to keep the friendship harmonious.

Cecil said: “I’m chuffed to bits that my name is on a coach I think it looks smashing. Thanks very much National Express for the free travel!”

Go North East, the largest bus company in the North East, operates hundreds of thousands of journeys each year on behalf of National Express. 

National Express UK Coach Managing Director Tom Stables said: “Cecil’s zest for life and energy are incredible, he is a truly remarkable man so we‘ve named one of our coaches after him as a small token of our admiration. We are also delighted to offer him and his friends free travel to concerts in Leeds that they go together in future.”

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