Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 12°C

min temp: 9°C

Search

Framlingham/Wickham Market: Thousand rides for volunteer, Michael

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.

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.

Suffolk Highways has announced on social media that one of its workers was ‘driven into’ and racially abused as he assisted in a fatal crash on the A12 today.

Stansted Airport’s expansion plans have been approved by Uttlesford District Council’s planning committee.

Delays and cancellations continue on trains going to and from London Liverpool Street after an earlier points failure.

Millions of pounds of cutbacks for council services in Suffolk next year have been revealed – with homes facing further council tax rises for the next three years.

Suffolk police are appealing for information after a man exposed himself to a dog walker in Tuddenham.

When you watch a comedian like Ross Noble, you’ve got to expect the unexpected.

Two men have been arrested after a 19-year-old man suffered serious injuries following an attack in Sudbury.

Most read

Show Job Lists

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

MyDate24 MyPhotos24