Villagers in Malpas are celebrating after a minibus bought through fundraising was officially unveiled.

The Malpas Community Minibus was launched in the village thanks to a dedicated group of volunteers who raised the £40,000 required to offer much-needed transport to charities and community organisations.

The bus was unveiled with the help of Eddisbury MP Antoinette Sandbach who was delighted to play a part.

“It was a delightful day which celebrated the huge achievement of the community in fundraising,” she said. 

“It demonstrated Malpas’s thriving spirit that thinks of, and acts to support, others. Well done to all who worked so hard. Rosie’s bus will make a huge difference to so many.”

‘Rosie’ refers to the star of the event; seven-year-old Rosie Jakeman who won the competition held at Malpas Alport Primary School to design the logo for the bus.

It is planned to use the minibus to improve access to cultural events, theatres and concert venues, local attractions, sporting events, and shopping trips.

Seven drivers have been trained so far, with several waiting to receive their training while more will be wanted in the future.

Ilene Hoyle, who helped put together the fundraising, added: “What is special about the bus is that it will be available, under certain circumstances, to collect and deliver passengers from home.

“(We’re) offering a bespoke service and making it suitable for those needing a bit of extra help.

“The first trips will be to transport the members of Malpas Opal Club to and from their twice weekly club at Craddock Court.

“Malpas Opal Club initiated the idea and have been staunch supporters and funders of the minibus.”

Donations and grant funds towards the cost of the bus have come from CWaC Rural Support Grant, Malpas Parish Council, who have also contributed to year one running costs,.

Other donors include Malpas Opal Club, The Rotary Club of Whitchurch, Malpas Young Persons Centre, Malpas Surgery Patients Comfort Fund, Bovis Homes, Sanctuary Housing, The Earl of Chester’s Fund, JPCS, St Oswald’s Church, St Oswald’s Masonic Lodge, and Berry Fresh Bakery.