Award for rural hero Steve and his buses

Steve Hurst with Nigel Davison, who cycled 350km for Spirit Buses. Picture by Mary Scott
Steve Hurst with Nigel Davison, who cycled 350km for Spirit Buses. Picture by Mary Scott
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The man behind a bus service which has allowed people in the Coquet Valley to remain connected has won an award.

Steve Hurst, of Rothbury-based Spirit Buses, was nominated as a Local Hero in the North East Rural Awards and ended up the winner, ahead of Stoker Frater and Michael Hindhaugh, at a ceremony at Linden Hall.

Spirit Buses started in 2014 to provide a new commercial service from the Upper Coquet Valley through Rothbury to Alnwick, resurrecting services that had been defunct for many decades or had never existed.

Since inauguration, it has enabled local people to stay in their rural communities, proved extremely popular with walkers while strengthening community spirit and providing a lifeline for some passengers.

Steve said: “I would just like to say a big thank-you to those who nominated and voted for me and to all the people that are supporting the services in their own way.

“To be recognised for just doing your job and have acknowledgment for what you are trying to achieve is always very gratifying.

“Hopefully Spirit Buses will continue to grow as a business and try to make a difference to public transport in rural Northumberland.”

The community is demonstrating its support for the service through its continual fund-raising efforts.

This week, Nigel Davison completed a sponsored 350km bike ride through Holland and Germany and on Saturday, a summer bazaar is being held at Netherton Southside Farm, from 10am to 2pm, by local musician Jack Wilkinson, who has also written a song about the buses.