THERE was a party in Ryde for a very special celebration this week.

Southern Vectis hosted a celebration for its most famous bus, the Old Girl, to mark her 80th birthday.

The bus operator held a special charity vintage tea party in honour of its most senior colleague on Tuesday, with all proceeds going to the Royal British Legion.

Southern Vectis general manager, Richard Tyldsley, said: “With the distinction of being the oldest double decker bus in the UK still in service with her original owner, the Old Girl is a real favourite among the Southern Vectis team.

“We’re proud to be her custodians and thrilled that so many people turned out for the Old Girl’s birthday party.”

Guests enjoyed a vintage tea party before boarding the Old Girl for a tour.

As brand-new, British-made Bristol 5KG, the Old Girl arrived on the Isle of Wight in July 1939 — 42 days before the start of the Second World War.

She entered service as a standard double-decker, carrying Islanders and visitors during six years of wartime and thereafter, just as Southern Vectis’ green buses do now.

The bus is available for private hire. From weddings and christenings to parties and sightseeing — this octogenarian has hosted them all.

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