A plea to keep Sutton Bridge ‘lifeline’

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An appeal has been launched for volunteer drivers to rescue a “lifeline” hospital transport service in Sutton Bridge.

The village is part of the South Holland Parish Voluntary Car Service, but it has lost a couple of drivers and is having to rely on volunteers from Long Sutton to take residents to hospitals, doctors’ surgeries and other medical appointments.

Sutton Bridge voluntary car service co-ordinator Maureen Shortland said: “It’s a lifeline for a lot of people to get to hospital if they have no other way and particularly if they have mobility problems and they cannot access the bus.

“A lot of them wouldn’t be eligible for hospital transport because the criteria is very strict on that so they would have no other way of getting to the hospitals.”

Drivers use their own cars and are paid 45p a mile – with passengers contributing 35p a mile to the subsidised service – and take passengers to hospitals in Cambridge, King’s Lynn, Wisbech and Spalding as well as to local medical appointments.

Mrs Shortland said drivers often find it a pleasurable way of spending some free time – and people who use the service appreciate the company, particularly when drivers go with them to the hospital waiting rooms.

She said: “Volunteers need a fair bit of patience because hospital waiting times can’t be predicted – you can be in and out in ten minutes or it could be an hour. I could do with three or four drivers really as I am relying on Long Sutton all of the time.”

For more information or to volunteer please call Mrs Shortland on 01406 350092.