Staff use sandpit to mop up spill

The Bristol Playbus broke down on the A370 on its way to Hewish near Weston-super-Mare

The Bristol Playbus broke down on the A370 on its way to Hewish near Weston-super-Mare

First published in National News © by

Quick-thinking staff on a mobile playbus used the contents of an on-board sandpit to mop up oil and diesel spilling across a road after their double-decker bus blew its engine.

Workers on the converted bus took action when gear box oil and diesel poured from the engine across a busy dual carriageway.

Bristol Playbus, which provides early learning and play opportunities for children in disadvantaged areas of Bristol, South Gloucestershire and North Somerset, had been on its way to Hewish, near Weston-super-Mare, when the incident happened.

They used the contents of the sand pit to soak up the fluids to prevent other traffic on the A370 Long Ashton Bypass skidding on the spilt oil and diesel. They also directed traffic until police and the fire service arrived to pre-warn other drivers.

Their quick actions were praised by Avon Fire and Rescue Service which sent one crew to the incident to help clear up the road.

James Bladon, from the service, said: "They absolutely did the right thing. The sand absorbed the spillage, reducing the risk to any other motorists."

But the incident, which happened at about 10.30am on November 13, has left the charity with a costly bill for engine repairs.

Ruth Cornish, project manager of Bristol Playbus, said: "We had only just agreed a series of budget cuts to preserve this vital operation across the region. Now faced with a bill of nearly £10,000 for a replacement engine for the bus, the valuable services that Bristol Playbus provides are now seriously at risk.

"We are appealing for any help from businesses and the public to, quite literally, keep the wheels of our bus going round and round."

With the bus out of commission, the charity has had to hire another bus and is looking at using a permanent building in one area to make sure play services are still provided. Donations and offers of help can be made to Ms Cornish, on 0117 9551561.

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