WHOTT Running Day 2015, Dorchester

Sunday August 16th was the date of the Westcountry Historic Omnibus & Transport Trust (WHOTT) Running Day. Set in the ancient market town of Dorchester, this new format proved to be much more successful than the traditional static bus rallies of previous years.


Although I’d had the date in my diary for some time, no particular task had been assigned to me so I was pretty much free to help out on the day whenever the need arose. As it turned out, I ended up with a couple of very interesting driving turns.

The venue was the Top o’ Town car park in Dorchester, chosen because the erstwhile Dorset bus and coach operator Bere Regis Motor Services once had its offices on the site. The day also saw the launch of a new book by Stuart Shelton, a comprehensive fleet history documenting every vehicle that Bere Regis ever owned. The book runs to 96 pages and I had the privilege of preparing the artwork for this WHOTT publication. This complements a similar book on the history of the company by Andrew Waller.


My first task was to help move some vehicles which had been stabled overnight in the Damory yard just round the corner from the event venue. I elected to drive Bristol LHS coach CLJ413Y, which is the sole surviving ex-Bere Regis coach still wearing its original livery. It also happens to be the very last LH chassis built by Bristol Commercial Vehicles. As some of you might know, the Bristol LH is not my favourite vehicle of all time but I was happy to drive this particularly historic coach the short distance to the static display area.

I pottered about after that, watching other vehicles arriving and society stalls being laid out. Of particular interest was a scale model of a Harrington-bodied Commer Avenger coach. This had for many years been on display above the doorway of the old Bere Regis offices that used to stand just a few yards away. In the static display area was an immaculate pair of Bedford OBs in the livery of Lewis Coaches, as seen in the photo at the top of this post.

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History of Bere Regis Motor Service book – artworker needed

There’s an opportunity for someone with design or artworking skills to help publish a book on the history of Bere Regis Motor Service. The pictorial history has already been written and images have been scanned. I have been involved in similar publications before, most recently a pictorial history of AEC vehicles in the South West.

“One Hundred Years of AEC in the West Country” is published by the Westcountry Historic Omnibus & Transport Trust (WHOTT) and was written by local AEC officionado Phil Platt and John Sykes, who worked for AEC (and then Leyland) for many years.

The Bere Regis book will be very similar and needs someone with access to suitable page layout software (Adobe InDesign or QuarkXPress for example) to prepare the artwork. There is a budget for this available but it’s not huge, as the funds of the Trust are limited.

If you can help, please leave a comment and I will put you in touch with my contact at WHOTT. Thank you!