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First Published Friday, 17 April 2009


TWICKENHAM, UK:  A group of youngsters – many of them with autism or Asperger’s syndrome – had an unexpected end to a day out when the back wheels of their coach fell off at Twickenham on their way home.


The 14 boys and girls, aged between 10 and 13-years-old and who have special needs, and their 14 carers from the North Somerset Disabled Team, based at The Firs in Weston had been to the Haynes Motor Museum in Yeovil for an Easter day out.


They had enjoyed their day but it was shortly after leaving the M5 at Clevedon that things went wrong. As the 57-seater coach was travelling along Clevedon Road, in Tickenham to Nailsea, the two rear wheels on the passenger side came off the axle. It collapsed and scraped along the road for about 20 metres before coming to a halt.


None of the youngsters were hurt and parents were called to the village to pick up their children.


People living nearby who heard a loud scraping noise as the wheels fell off rushed to see what had happened. Some then directed traffic as the children were taken off the bus to safety.


Eleven-year-old Harry Johnson and his dad Tim, 39, of Clevedon Road, saw the incident. Harry said: “When I heard this really loud noise we ran out to see what was happening and saw the coach and the tyres, which had shot off up the road. We were worried the tyres would hit the traffic so we grabbed hold of them.”


Harry’s grandmother, Pat Johnson, who lives next door, then urged all the children to go into her garden so they were away from the main road.


Gill Stokes, of the NS Day Care Team, praised everyone involved for their actions. She said: “The carers and the driver did a fantastic job of getting the children off the bus quickly. I am also very grateful to the neighbours who helped us. Coombes Coaches has always been terrific and the driver was very upset about what happened.”


(Source:  Thisissomerset.co.uk,  April 15, 2009)


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