AFTER ten years of hard work Harwich Connexions is unrecognisable from when it began.

“It was January 23 2003 when I started working here and we had two buses and a van,” said manager Debbie Rotchell.

“It has changed beyond all recognition; we have six 15 seat minibuses, one nine seat minibus, a wheelchair access vehicle and two vans.”

This fleet of vehicles is used for Connexions’ community transport scheme which has seen them help more than 22,000 people this year get to the shops, doctors appointments and social events when it would have been impossible for them otherwise.

One of the most popular of these services is the Hospital Hopper, which operates in partnership with the Fellowship of the Sick, and picks people up from their front doors in Harwich and take them to directly to hospitals in Colchester.

Rosemary Quaintance, 79, has used Harwich Connexions since it began and was regularly on the Hospital Hopper when her late husband was ill.

She now uses the buses to attend a Tuesday club where a number of ladies meet up for a coffee, chat and a game of bingo.

“I was in the first meeting they ever had and I think they offer a wonderful service,” she said.

To read a full feature on Harwich Connexions pick up a copy of the Harwich and Manningtree Standard.