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'It's a lifeline' - anger as bus transporting pensioners is stopped in town

PUBLISHED: 15:56 22 November 2019 | UPDATED: 16:24 22 November 2019

Linda Hook is a resident at Lord Walsingham Court retirement home in Thetford and she used the Norse bus service for 11 years until it was stopped. Photo: Emily Thomson

Linda Hook is a resident at Lord Walsingham Court retirement home in Thetford and she used the Norse bus service for 11 years until it was stopped. Photo: Emily Thomson

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A community has been left without a bus service which has been described as a "lifeline" for older people.

Residents at a retirement home, Lord Walsingham Court in Thetford, have been left without a vital Norse bus service for five weeks. Photo: Emily ThomsonResidents at a retirement home, Lord Walsingham Court in Thetford, have been left without a vital Norse bus service for five weeks. Photo: Emily Thomson

The retirement home Lord Walsingham Court, in Thetford, has been left without the services of a Norse Bus which has been transporting residents for more than 25 years.

The bus collected them from the retirement home every Thursday morning at 8am to do their weekly food shop, dropping them off at their desired supermarket and picking them up when they had finished.

But five weeks ago the bus did not turn up and it hasn't since. Now the community have said they want answers.

Linda Hook, 71, is a resident at the retirement home who has used the bus for 11 years. She said: "It has always come it has never let us down so we are so confused.

Linda Hook is a resident at Lord Walsingham Court retirement home in Thetford and she used the Norse bus service for 11 years before it was stopped. Photo: Emily ThomsonLinda Hook is a resident at Lord Walsingham Court retirement home in Thetford and she used the Norse bus service for 11 years before it was stopped. Photo: Emily Thomson

"We have to rely on family when they can get here or we have to rely on taxi's which costs a fortune.

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"We can't use the normal buses because we can't carry the heavy bags. We are really upset and it is really unfair."

Despite getting in touch with Norse Group to find out what has happened to their bus, residents say they are no closer to getting an answer.

A spokesperson from Norse said: "We are continuing to provide transport services for people using a luncheon club in Thetford on a Tuesday and a Wednesday.

"We are currently reviewing our operations in the area, but are unable to comment further at this time."

As Christmas approaches many are concerned about the bad weather which makes getting out and about even harder.

Kathy Webb, 74, is another resident who uses their services. She said: "It's the only time people can get out to meet friends otherwise they are just stuck in here with no human contact and they are lonely. You could meet other people on the bus.

"We have the bad weather coming up as well so people are going to need these services even more."

Ms Hook added: "It's not just that it took people to and from the shops, our driver was just so helpful. He carried our shopping on and off which takes the burden off. It was a lifeline for a lot of people."

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