Ipswich Star and New Wolsey Theatre step in after bus delays cause group to miss panto

Alan Titchmarsh, wife Lesley and neighbour Janet James ( left) who are going to the Wolsey Panto th

Alan Titchmarsh, wife Lesley and neighbour Janet James ( left) who are going to the Wolsey Panto thanks to the Ipswich Star after missing it after waiting for over an hour for a bus that never arrived.

What started as a nightmare afternoon marred by public transport upsets and a missed panto performance has turned into a fairytale ending for one group of neighbours in Rushmere – thanks to the generous efforts of the New Wolsey Theatre and Ipswich Star.

On Saturday, 76-year-old Alan Titchmarsh, wife Lesley, 70, and neighbour Janet James, 76, all of Blackdown Avenue, were due to see a matinee performance of the Wolsey’s Sword in the Stone pantomime.

But after three buses on the Route 66 bus service into town failed to show up at the Brendon Drive bus stop in time, and more than an hour waiting in the wintry weather, the neighbours ended up missing the performance.

The three were left disappointed and confused after five buses had been seen heading in the opposite direction – all of which failed to arrive on time at their bus stop.

Mr Titchmarsh said: “The fact that you get four or five buses going in the one direction and not one coming back was very strange.

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“The timetable changed in August, and since they have been running every 20 minutes it’s much, much worse.”

A spokesman for First buses, which runs the route, said that heavy traffic heading into town for Christmas shopping had caused several services that day to be late.

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The spokesman added: “All three [buses missed] did operate – they were just running late. That was down to us only being able to go as quickly as the traffic flows.”

But now the neighbours are able to put the matter behind them, and will be travelling to the panto after all, thanks to the Wolsey generously allowing the group to reschedule to a performance of their choice, while the Ipswich Star will be paying for their taxi journey to and from the theatre.

A spokesman from the theatre said: “It is always frustrating for our customers when they cannot attend or are late to a performance.

“We are looking forward to talking to Alan, Lesley and Janet directly to discuss their options to make an alternative visit so that they can still enjoy this year’s rock and roll panto.”

Ipswich Star editor Terry Hunt added: “Everyone at the paper was really upset when we heard about Alan, Lesley and Janet missing the pantomime. So we’re delighted that our friends at the Wolsey Theatre have very generously agreed to help out, and we will be pleased to organise a taxi to and from the show – which I’m sure they will thoroughly enjoy.”

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