Mercy Place residents back on the road with new bus

By Tara Whitsed

It was an emotional day for Mercy Place staff and residents as a new bus was unveiled at a ceremony yesterday.

The aged care facility, with the help of community organisations, had been fundraising for a new mini bus after a tragic accident in June last year in which three residents died.

Nine Mercy Place residents were returning from an outing at Tatura, accompanied by a staff member and two volunteers when the mini bus was T-boned by a taxi and rolled.

The accident claimed the lives of Theresa Tyndall, Valerie McCubbin and Ella Emanuelli and others were seriously injured.

Residents Beth Chambers, Laura Vagg and Marion Gellatly were on the bus during the incident and said it was a happy day to finally have their own bus again.

‘‘It’s lovely,’’ said Ms Vagg who was eager to be the first person to ride in the bus.

‘‘It’ll be good to just be able to get in and go whenever we want to.’’

Mercy Place was generously given the use of the Shepparton RSL bus while funds were raised.

Thanks to the RSL, RACV, Fairley’s IGA and Renault Shepparton as well as residents who dipped into their own pockets, $64000 needed for the bus for raised.

Mercy Place lifestyle co-ordinator Nicole Florance said the residents would take their first outing following the unveiling, fittingly to the Shepparton RSL for lunch.

Shepparton RSL president Bob Wilkie said when they heard about the accident and knew the aged care facility was without a bus, they wanted to help.

He said the RSL would also donate $2000 each year for the ongoing maintenance of the bus.

Mercy Place lifestyle assistant Amanda Threfall, who was also on the bus during the collision, said it was an emotional day.

‘‘We will head back to the Tatura bakery when we’re ready,’’ she said.

The facility will now enjoy the 10-seater, which is complete with wheelchair access and an automatic safety step.