Youngsters at a tiny special school have been left devastated after their prized minibus failed its MOT.
The vehicle was a lifeline for staff and pupils at the Royal Cross School for the Deaf in Preston.
They used it several times a day and although they knew, at 14 years old, it was heading for the scrap yard they weren’t expecting the bus to go just yet.
The Parent Teacher Association at the 22-pupil school has been fund-raising for years so they could get enough of a deposit together to apply for help from the Variety Club.
They were just £1,000 short when the school was told the vehicle was no longer roadworthy.
Headteacher Beverley Hennifer said the minibus, which was fitted with a tail gate to cater for children with wheelchairs, was a vital part of school life.
She added it is used daily to transport children to and from everyday activities like swimming, The Space Centre for therapy classes, the library and museum trips as well as visits to The Forest School and residential visits.
She added: “The sudden loss of the bus will have a huge affect on the life experience of our children.
“We knew it was old and the PTFA has been fund-raising for a long time to try to get a new bus but with only 22 children the group is very small so it has taken us a long time to get to where we are.
“We are just devastated and the children are distraught. It is like losing an old friend.
“That bus has been through so much with us.”
Lessons and activities are now having to be re-planned and staff are insuring their own cars so that some children can still attend activities.
In the meantime, they are trying to find ways to rise the extra cash so they can put in a match-funded bid for a Variety Bus.