Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 12°C

min temp: 10°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Framlingham/Wickham Market: Thousand rides for volunteer, Michael

11:30 11 August 2014

Michael Diggens picks up his 1000th passenger as a Community Action Suffolk driver. Michael (centre) is pictured with his 1000th passenger, Norman Bennett and Sally Pascoe (Care UK Support Worker at Wellbeing Centre, Lehmann House) in Wickham Market.

Michael Diggens picks up his 1000th passenger as a Community Action Suffolk driver. Michael (centre) is pictured with his 1000th passenger, Norman Bennett and Sally Pascoe (Care UK Support Worker at Wellbeing Centre, Lehmann House) in Wickham Market.

Archant

After covering two-million miles as a truck driver, you’d forgive Michael Diggens for wanting to put his feet up in retirement.

shares

But the Suffolk 70-year-old instead volunteered his own time and vehicle to helping people with limited access to transport.

Mr Diggens has just celebrated his 1,000th journey for Community Action Suffolk’s voluntary transport scheme – a milestone made particularly memorable by the passenger he went to collect.

The former lorry driver set off on his first journey on July 27, 2010 and first picked up Norman Bennett less than a month later. Since then he has become not only a regular passenger – travelling between his home in Wickham Market and the day centre at Lehmann House Residential Care Home – but also a firm friend.

“I used to work as a truck driver out of Felixstowe and drove on the Continent for five years, but I had to stop driving long distances after I had a heart attack 16 years ago,” said father-of-one Mr Diggens, who lives with wife Jeanette in Framlingham.

“I still drove trucks locally until I was 66 but when I retired it was like cutting off my arms. My wife was still working an the local tea shop and I was at home twiddling my thumbs.

“My sister-in-law suggested volunteer driving but I wasn’t sure because I had always driven alone in trucks. I gave it a month and loved it.

“I think I’ve taken Norman more than anyone else – he has become a personal friend. I actually fitted in a couple of jobs so that Norman would be my thousandth customer.”

Most of Mr Diggens’ passengers need transport to and from the doctors or hospital. He keeps a record of every journey, making up to 34 per month. All of the journeys are made in his own car and passengers contribute 33p for each mile travelled.

And Mr Diggens isn’t thinking of stopping now that he has passed the 1,000 mark. “It really helps me as much as it helps the passengers,” he said.

shares

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other East Anglian Daily Times visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by East Anglian Daily Times staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique East Anglian Daily Times account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Sue Palmer

Sue Palmer’s influential book Toxic Childhood explains to parents how the modern world is damaging the development of a growing number of children.

The suspect knocked on a door in Almond Way sometime between 3.30pm and 3.45pm on Saturday last week (May 16) and threatened the 51-year-old occupant with a knife.

Police investigating an aggravated burglary in Colchester are appealing for witnesses to come forward.

Susan Beckerman.

A 57-year-old woman reported missing from Felixstowe has been found, police have said.

Jeff Spicer

A 53-year-old man from Lowestoft reported missing to police has been found in Leiston, police have said.

Composer Jocelyn Pook who was raised and educated in Bury St Edmunds.

I probably wouldn’t have seen the Jocelyn Pook Ensemble had it not been for the suggestion of my film buff cousin Tom.

Artists' impression of the view from the new development towards the cathedral.

Traffic has been raised as a key issue by people who attended a public exhibition on the vision for a 1,250-home development in south-east Bury St Edmunds.

Suffolk show day 1 
Inside the food hall 
John hadingham and tom brown of aspall

Suffolk’s agricultural community will be descending on Trinty Park for the annual Suffolk Show next week.

Steve Manning with his two wolves that are part of the Bury wolf trail.

Work on Bury St Edmunds’ latest tourism initiative is well under way, with 26 handcrafted wolves nearing completion.

The scene earlier when travellers parked up at a supermarket in Woodbridge.

A group of travellers which moved in to a supermarket car park in Woodbridge has left, police have said.

Police were alerted on Wednesday

A 30-year-old woman who was reported missing from Sudbury has been found.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages