MEMBERS of a new bus buddy scheme are joining forces to tackle isolation among the elderly.

Those behind the plan in Clitheroe say the new monthly trips and meetings will encourage lonely people to get out of the house.

It’s long been a dream of Clitheroe man Brian Holden to unite his love of bus travel with helping older people in the Ribble Valley.

A self-confessed ‘bus nut’. the Ribble Valley Seniors’ Forum member — originally from Blackburn — was thrilled when Ribble Valley Council agreed to support his plan.

The monthly sessions organised by the council and seniors’ forum will see members travel around the North West.

Mr Holden said: “It is really good for everyone, including me. Today I will be getting out and putting some money into the economy by having lunch with my friends.

“Without this happening today I would be in front of the TV doing nothing. I really enjoy taking the bus but this is for people who haven’t made a habit of it — they can be a bit unsure of the timetables. We are here to help.”

Fellow member Christina Lord, 89, agreed and added: “I am really looking forward to today and just doing something different. I thought I would try a fish restaurant that’s been recommended to me by the canal.

"It’s very important to stay active and some light walking and activities is just perfect for me. It’s just what we need. Sitting at home — it’s terrible but getting out and about is wonderful.”

Members can meet up to half an hour before the scheduled day trip and make lasting friendships while seeing more of the country.

It’s hoped the group sessions will make better use of senior resident’s free NoW cards.

At the launch of the event in Clitheroe yesterday, Mr Holden was keen to get everyone acquainted as new members turned up to travel to Skipton.

Daytripper Vincent O’Bryan, 85, said it was the perfect way to spend the day.

He said: “It’s a wonderful idea. I used to walk quite a lot and I like to stay active. When I saw this advertised I thought I had to try it.

“Getting people together who are on their own is the most important part. Just getting out and meeting friends is so much better than staying at home.

Future trips include Preston on Wednesday, September 3 and Southport on Wednesday September 24. Further details are available from Dilys Day on 01200 414549.