Mini-miracle: The minibus which will ‘improve quality of life’ for Chadwell Heath students

“It’s about quality of life for the children” was how the man who has campaigned for 15 years for a new school bus described its importance.

Harvey Sharpe has been leading efforts to buy the new bus for Newbridge School, Gresham Drive, Chadwell Heath and said he was amazed when it arrived last week.

For 15 years he wrote to various Mayors of Redbridge to raise the �38,000 needed for the new bus as well as organising various fund raising events.

He said: “It was like winning the lottery, I can’t even put it into words what it means to me. It will add to their quality of life - this really about them going out into the community.”

Mr Sharpe, 64 of Basildon Avenue, Barkingside joined the Newbridge School PFA Committee 30 years ago and has spent half that time trying to raise money for the minibus.

“It means we can take more children out during the day and into the community,” he said. “We want to treat them as normally as possible so they can do as anyone else does. Getting on a train or bus would be impossible for them, at least they can now all go out together.”

In 2011 the minibus appeal was helped by being chosen by former Mayor of Redbridge Chris Cummins as one of his charities for the year meaning they were awarded �22,000.

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Mr Sharpe said: “It was such a shock getting chosen as the mayor’s charity. It’s amazing to see it [the campaign] through to the end. It’s about quality of life for the children.”

After hearing about the minibus campaign, Seven Kings Lions donated �7,500 and Fairview Lets, Cameron Road, Seven Kings gave �1,500.

Mr Sharpe’s daughter formerly attended the school and he said that it was due to the excellent opportunities she had there that he wanted to help.

He said: “Her quality of life was fantastic. I just really wanted to give something back to the school that helped my daughter.”