A new bus company which will provide services across Coquetdale and north Northumberland has been officially launched.
Spirit Buses, owned and managed by Steve Hurst from Rothbury, ran its first service on Monday.
Prior to that, on Saturday, the service was officially opened by Lindisfarne’s Rod Clements, who lives in the village.
The buses mean that Rothbury residents will now have a daily, direct service to Alnwick, rather than having to go via Morpeth.
Alongside that route, which also goes to Alnmouth Station, there are four others: Thropton to Morpeth; a Coquetdale circular; Rothbury to Elsdon; and Rothbury to Wallington Hall – on varying days and times.
After the launch, Steve said: “It was uplifting to see a large turnout of residents and visitors to the event and encouraging to hear all the support and how the services were to change people’s lives. There were residents who haven’t travelled on buses for years and those who, after trailing the buses at various open days, felt a lot more confident that a community-based bus could help them regain their independence.
“Some parts of the valley haven’t seen regular services for decades.
“Without the continued support from the region and beyond over the past two years, it couldn’t have got to where we are today.
“Many thanks to Rod Clements for his support and officially launching the services too; he is very enthusiastic about supporting them.”
The buses have been given window images thanks to Northumberland National Park and have been named the Spirit of Simonside and Spirit of Coquetdale.
The National Park has also provided an information board with leaflets inside the buses.
The 9.30am service from Rothbury to Alnwick was given a special send-off with flags waving on Monday.
For timetables, see www.spiritbuses.co.uk