Famous Porton bus service takes one more trip down memory lane

Words and photo supplied by Terry Grace

An outing on a restored 1960s bus kicked off celebrations for the 100th anniversary of a very famous much loved local bus service: Silver Star Motor Services of Porton Down.

Steve Webster, part owner of the bus, organised the day out for the few remaining ex-staff of Silver Star, along with an additional 50 or so interested guests.

On a trip down memory lane, the guests travelled the familiar routes of the service which plied its trade through the Bourne Valley. Starting at Idmiston, the bus picked up passengers at Porton and Gomeldon, where spectators emerged, cameras in hand.

From there, the bus journeyed through the Winterbournes and under St Thomas’s bridge towards Salisbury.
Many more passengers climbed aboard and conversations turned to reminiscences of the once highly appreciated and admired bus service.

A trip back to the old turning point at Allington brought back more memories and much photography.

On the way back the bus stopped in Boscombe to pay tribute to David Pennells who recently died.
David was a lifetime admirer and collector of Silver Star memorabilia and photographs dating back to the earliest days of the service.

The bus then headed back to Salisbury where passengers enjoyed a spot of lunch and a chat before re-boarding and heading out through Amesbury where more passengers joined the journey.

The journey then took in Salisbury Plain before the time came to drop everyone off on the way home.

Silver Star Motor Services operated from a garage on Ministry of Defence land at Porton Down for 40 years until June 1963 when the company was sold to the rival Wilts and Dorset Bus company.

A history of the Silver Star company is available in the book, Remembering Silver Star (by Terry Grace), which is available online and from The History Book Shop, Fisherton Street, Salisbury.

The picture shows the four remaining members of staff of the Silver Star Company.

From left to right they are Mary Dixon who worked in the office, Jack Parsons who together with his late wife managed to save this bus from the scrapyard and restored it to its present glory.

Next is Yvonne Allen who also worked in the office but was also part of the White family that owned the business.

Finally, Dave Ashburner, who was a driver for the company and who actually collected the very bus used on the day from the factory as a drivable chassis in 1962 before the body was built.

It is hoped the other two surviving Silver Star coaches will be able to make an appearance at another meeting during the 100th anniversary celebrations.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *