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SponsorTrolley (Updated on 5 April 2021)

Can You Help?

Sponsortrolley is a scheme whereby members who wish to see the BTS trolleybuses restored and operating at Sandtoft (or elsewhere), and who can afford to contribute more than just their membership subscriptions, donate a regular sum of money every month towards their favourite vehicle or vehicles. This is run by David Beach at sponsortrolley@britishtrolley.org.uk , who would be happy to hear from you if you would like to sponsor any of the vehicles. You can download a Sponsortrolley Form (see the foot of this page). At this time, you will still need to print this, fill it in and then post it to David at the address shown on the form.

It will be seen that we have been able to restore the majority of our trolleybuses to running order in recent years. Although the costs of restoration tend to come from specific appeals or general BTS funds, it is clear that such expenditure can only be justified if the restored vehicle is then housed safely in dry conditions, such as at Sandtoft. The costs of this are borne largely by Sponsortrolley supporters. Furthermore, if such support was not forthcoming, the BTS would have to devote funds to vehicle storage and there would be nothing left to fund restoration.

Membership fees have to be set at a level that can be afforded by the average supporter, including students, unemployed, those with young and growing families, and those retired on minimum pensions. The income from membership fees barely cover the magazine and some of the vehicle storage rent and little is left over for restoration or even routine maintenance costs. However, with the support of sponsors, funds can be raised for the restoration of the non-runners, and the repainting and general upkeep of the existing runners.

What do the sponsors themselves get? There is the pleasure of seeing their name on the list of vehicle supporters (except for those that wish to remain anonymous!) and the knowledge that they are helping to secure the future of an historic vehicle which they are particularly interested in for one reason or another.

Members can sponsor a vehicle for one month per year for a donation of £60, normally paid in instalments of £5 per month by standing orders, though annual donations by cheque are also welcome. Some sponsors manage to cover extra months by donating £10, £15 or £20 per month and so on. Many members are current taxpayers and have Gift-Aided their donations, which increases their value by about a quarter at no cost to themselves and is hugely worthwhile.

• The latest addition to our fleet, Bournemouth 301 currently resides at the Keighley Bus Museum, where some necessary electrical work has been carried out. A full external repaint was completed in March 2021 ready for 301 to return to the Trolleybus Museum at Sandtoft where it is hoped it will be launched into service later this year.

Reading 113 was fully restored and returned to service at a cost of £30,000, through the generosity of several members, including 113's sponsors. Thanks to the generosity of Sponsortrolley members all the rent is covered on this vehicle. A legacy from the late Colin Enticknap was used to pay for a full repaint in 2019.

Glasgow TB78 was next in line after 113 and required both bodywork and mechanical attention. Following completion of the work TB78 was repainted and returned to service during the Spring Bank Holiday 2001.

Bournemouth 99 required a replacement traction motor which was eventually purchased. Following attention to the bodywork she re-entered service at Sandtoft in 2003. There are three £60 gaps that still need sponsoring just to pay the rent for the year. 2007 saw her withdrawal again for further work on the bodywork and brakes. This work is still outstanding, but the BTS Committee is considering giving 99 some priority. 

• London 1812 required much restoration work to be carried out, including conversion back from right-hand running, and this was eventually started in 1999. This major project was finally completed in 2001, in time for her re-launch into service at the Spring Bank Holiday of that year. From October 2015 to October 2020 no 1812 was on a five-year loan to the London Bus Museum, which is situated on the Brooklands Museum complex. It is planned that 1812 will remain in the south of England until a major mechanical overhaul has been completed, when 1812 will return to the Trolleybus Museum at Sandtoft.

• South Shields 204 was next in line for the ‘treatment’. Having been kept in outside storage during its early years in preservation the bodywork deteriorated badly. Since arrival at Sandtoft in 1969, 204 languished at the back of the depot awaiting its turn which finally arrived in 2003. South Shields 204 has now been beautifully restored to operating condition and regularly operates at the Museum. 

Aachen 22 at present is not fit for public service but funds are being built up so that the vehicle can be fully restored and returned to service. This vehicle's rent is currently covered by sponsorship, with substantial surplus funds for restoration. 

Cardiff 203 was fully restored and relaunched into service at Sandtoft over the 2010 Spring Bank Holiday.

Manchester 1344 returned to BTS ownership in 2010 and it has since been completely restored. It was recommissioned at Sandtoft over the Spring Bank Holiday 2011 as part of the BTS’s 50th anniversary celebrations.

• Walsall 872 – Internally restored by three BTS members whilst residing at the Aston Manor Transport Museum, 872 was returned to Sandtoft in May 2011 to take part in the BTS’s 50th anniversary celebrations although only as a static exhibit . It was taken to Swindon in December 2011 where the internal seating was re-upholstered and it was externally repainted. 872 was launched at Sandtoft during the BTS operating weekend at August Bank Holiday 2013 but could not enter passenger service because there is some mechanical work outstanding.

Mexborough & Swinton 34 - Accommodation costs are currently being more than covered by Sponsortrolley members and funds are being built up for the major restoration project which was announced in 2015. This trolleybus is more than 90 years old and is a long-term project. Sponsortrolley is an ideal way for members to help build up funds for the project.

Walsall 342 – Currently out of service and requires electrical rewiring and rebuilding of the braking system.

Huddersfield 631 - 631 returned to Sandtoft from Swindon where restoration was completed and was launched into service in 2014. 631's accommodation is fully funded by Sponsortrolley members.

Reading 47 (motorbus) This 1935 AEC Regent bus has been restored and maintained to a high standard. It resides in the Reading area and makes local appearances during the summer. Three £60 gaps remain to be filled

If you require further details on any of our trolleybuses, please consult our Fleet Pages.

With a number of our trolleybuses having been fully restored in recent years it is obvious that progress can be made, but it does depend on the support of Sponsortrolley members to a large extent. If you feel that you could assist us with sponsorship of any of the above vehicles, particularly those that are less well sponsored, or you require further details, please email David Beach at sponsortrolley@britishtrolley.org.uk , or post this downloadable form.

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