Monday, 15 June 2015

People Of Biddisham - Alan Bailey

Its difficult to separate Axe Vale coaches and it's founder Alan Bailey who together with wife Jane started the business in 1977 with just four coaches at Apple Tree Cottage, Biddisham.
The Axe Vale coach taking the children of the village to school has been a twice daily constant for Biddisham for nearly 40 years.

Alan and Jane built up the business on the A38 expanding from school runs and Royal Ordnance Survey Factory transport to coach holidays as far as Morroco and the Alps. Alan worked hard to create a business that put his customers first however it was his charity work and what he gave to the community that really stands out.

Alan passed away in 2007 aged 65 having raised thousands for local charities. His final farewell was a party raising £9000 for Macmillan Cancer and Weston Hospice Care. Biddisham and the local community will have great memories of Alan Bailey's support for the village including day trips and his involvement supporting the Scouts and the Buckaneers Carnival Club. He even came to the rescue of pensioners and Bosnian refugees when they needed transport and help.

Today Axe Vale Coaches is ran by Alan and Jane's son Colin Bailey who is continuing the great work and even performing heroics with the buses.

Below are just a few of the clippings from Alan's Axe Vale and charity work kindly shared by Jane Bailey. How wonderful a man with a coach can be.


Alan from Backwell and Jane from Cleeve were married in 1966. From the local paper ....

"Jane, daughter of Mr. Arthur Chilcott M.B.E and Mrs Nora May Chilcott of the Swan Hotel, Wedmore and formerly Orchard House Cleeve was married to Alan Lionel Bailey only child of Mr and Mrs A H Bailey of Calella Church Town Backwell. He is employed as an engineer by Pye Radio. 
The bride a former Congresbury Church bellringer was given away by her brother, Mr Michael Chilcott her father being indesposed.
She was attired in an Empire line white shot taffeta dress, trimmed with lace. It had a semi train and her shoulder length veil was held with a head-dress of white roses and lily of the valley. She carried a spray of red roses and white lily of the valley. 

Miss Judith Chilcott, the brides younger sister was bridesmaid. She wore a pink organdie dress over a stiffened paper nylon, a circlet of net with diamante and carried a posy of garden freesias. 
Best man was Mr. James Paul Wring, a friend of the bridegroom and the ushers were Mr. Brian White and Mr Victor Carman. 
Officiating minister in a floral decorated church was the Rev. H.C.T Morgan, vicar. Miss Vowles was at the organ for the hymns.
The brides mother wore a brown suit with lurex blouse and collar and white accessories and the bridegroom's mother wore a green velvet suit with green shoes, handbag and gloves and pink hat and blouse. 

After a reception at the Swan Hotel the couple left for their honeymoon on the east coast, Mrs Bailey travelling in a turquoise and black tweed three piece with turquoise hat and gloves and black handbag and shoes."


'Thank you to Coach Firm from Westland Helicopters'
Framed photographs of the Westland Lynx helicopter presented to Alan Bailey by Mr Evans and vice-chairman Mr Dave Reed to say thank you for Axe Vale Coaches support over the years.

 The Buckaneer's carnival club based in Biddisham at the New Moon with their trophies - Alan is center with a number of other Biddisham residents including Pat Cross. 

 The Bukaneers - Golden Gallopers 1978



Buckaneers Arctic Hunters float for the Easter Parade, London 1977
BUCCANNEERS CC / WESTLANDS CC This was the most successful Local Feature Club, it started back in 1973 as Westlands CC and built at Westlands Helicopter Factory in Weston. They then changed their name to Buccaneers CC in 1976 when they moved to New Moon Inn, Biddisham. Nearly all the Members were from Westland’s. They then moved to Fox and Goose Inn in 1983. Then Moved again to Laburnham House, West Huntspill in 1991. Their biggest success was winning the County Cup in 1980 with “Grandfathers Clock”. They also took their 1977, 1982 and 1985 entry to the Easter Parade in London. They finally folded in the late 90’s. 



Jane Bailey raising funds for the Intensive Care Unit at Southmead hospital with Margaret Hendry and Phyl Dyer.


One of the original coach holiday brochures. 


Cyclists from Langford have custom double decker bus from Axe Vale for holiday. The lower deck of the bus was removed to make space for all the bikes. 1980s. 


Jane Bailey congratulating the coach firms 200th customer on their Bristol and Bath service. 


Alan's fundraising clippings including Weare sunset circle and Cheshire Home.


Scouts events, bus haul and fundraising.


Bournville OAP social club Christmas party fundaiser.

Kings of Wessex student sponsored by Axe Vale,


Raising money for Odstock Spinal Unit where Kings of Wessex student Rob Vohra received treatment after a road accident. Jane and Alan with Rob and his mother photographed. 




Bosnian Refugee evacuation in 1992 to Bagley, Wedmore. Alan Bailey gave a coach and two volunteer drivers to transport the refugees back from the Austro - Slovenian border to Rose Court, Theale, Somerset. At the time of writing this in 2015 as refugees continue to drown in the Mediterranean this is especially important. It would be great to hear more about this and what happened to the families.


Ski bus brochure with the lightning double decker Axe Vale coach. 1980s.


Celebrating 25 years of Axe Vale coaches with Jane, Alan and son Colin. 
 Axe Vale epaulets for the coach drivers uniforms.


Scout camp Poland Four Camp, Somerset 2004.


Alan and Colin show off the latest holiday brochure. 


Betty Chalkley of Cheddar organised a bus service with Axe Vale coaches when the daily service from Cheddar to Bristol was stopped. 



Articles on Alans farewell 'A Celebration of Life' fundraiser raising thousand for Macmillan Cancer and Weston Hospice Care. What an inspiration. 


35 years of coach travel brochure. 


Alan's son Colin saved Winscombe from a runaway builders lorry with an Axe Vale coach. Slowing in front of the lorry Colin managed to grind it to a halt with the brakes of the bus just like in an action film! December 2003

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