Bernie the Bus
1487. Paul Irwin
1488. Ashley Waite
Paul Irwin and Ashley Waite, from Aylesbury, are local councillors who run ‘Bernie the Bus’, a community centre on wheels which has been collecting and delivering vital supplies for elderly and vulnerable residents across Buckinghamshire throughout the pandemic.
Since the start of the outbreak, the bus has travelled more than 1,000 miles across the county on its charitable mission. They have also been using ‘Bernie the Bus’ to take part in other local initiatives, including litter picks as part of the Great British September Clean, and are planning a series of collections to support families at Christmas.
In a personal letter to Ashley, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:
“I wanted to write personally to congratulate you and Paul on the success of ‘Bernie the Bus’.
“I have been heartened to hear of the creative ways in which people have served their communities during the pandemic. I was particularly inspired to hear how ‘Bernie’ has taken you over 1,000 miles to deliver essential items to those in need.”
In a personal letter to Paul, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:
“I want to thank you and Ashley for the brilliant contributions you have made to your community.
“Together with ‘Bernie the Bus’, you have delivered fresh fruit and vegetables and other essentials helping those in need across the county. As everyone knows, I love buses and I think Bernie sounds fantastic.”
Greg Smith, MP for Buckingham, said:
“Paul Irwin and Ashley Waite, along with the whole Bernie the Bus team, have taken community leadership to a new level with this initiative. They have consistently gone above and beyond in all their projects, helping some of the most vulnerable residents in Buckinghamshire, at the same time as bringing a note of cheer to local towns and villages throughout this very difficult period of national emergency.”
Ashley and Paul said:
“We are humbled to have been selected for this award when there are so many people that have worked so hard through this pandemic. ‘Bernie the Bus’ has a great team behind it and we are so very proud to be part of it that team.
“The team and we have now walked over 1,000 miles since March and collected over 1,000 crates of food and toiletries for a range of local food banks in the area. We have also supported a number of animal charities with donations since starting collections combined with several campaigns to help the elderly with social isolation by the gifting of plant arrangements donated by local people.”