A NORTH-west Sutherland school, which feared it had lost hundreds of pounds after a bus company collapsed, has been staggered by the generosity of local people and strangers.
Kinlochbervie High School was left out of pocket to the tune of £1600 following the shock closure last week of bus firm Andrews (Shetland) which had school bus contracts in the north.
But following a Facebook post, local groups and individuals as well as strangers have rallied round to make up the loss.
Administrative assistant Paula Macleod said: “Everyone in the school is overwhelmed by the kindness shown to us and also by the power of social media.”
The school paid the bus company in advance to take a group of students to and from Glasgow Airport later this year.
The pupils are flying to Vancouver as part of a continuing project about local World War I hero and Victoria Cross recipient George McBeath who went on to become a police officer in the Canadian city.
Ms Macleod, who has been deeply involved in the McBeath project, said the overseas trip would still have gone ahead, but that the school could ill afford to stump up another £1600.
She put a post about the situation on Facebook which last week had 248 shares and reached more than 63,000 people.
She said: “I spent all that evening answering messages and comments.”
As a result of the post, Kinlochbervie gala committee and Scourie gala committee donated £300 each to the school and two private donations of £500 and £100 were received. Smaller amounts from well wishers were also transferred directly into the school’s bank account.
And Ms Macleod received a message from the transport manager of RS Coaches, Aberdeen, offering to take the students to and from Glasgow Airport at no cost.
She said: “We are only going to have to meet the driver’s wage and cost of fuel which is a huge saving.”
THE Kyle of Sutherland Development Trust stepped in to fill the breach on the Lairg to Tain bus route (900) after the collapse of Andrews (Shetland) Ltd.
The trust organised alternative free transport with the help and support of local businesses and individuals.
Trust development manager Helen Houston said that the Bradbury Day Care Centre loaned its bus, while William Gray Construction contributed to the running costs and volunteer drivers stepped forward including two trust directors, Graeme Askew and Ron Boothroyd.
It is understood that DE Coaches has now taken over the route.
Mrs Houston said: “What we have been able to do shows how an organisation like ours, based in the community, can respond quickly to emergencies.
“A total of 107 passengers accessed our free service over the three days.”