Gran, 75, travels round the whole of England using only her bus pass

·4-min read
Penny Ibbott, 75, raised more than £2000 for her local hospice by bussing around England using her pensioners' pass (SWNS)
Penny Ibbott, 75, raised more than £2000 for her local hospice by bussing around England using her pensioners' pass (SWNS)

A pensioner has travelled 2,200 miles around the edge of England using only her bus pass.

Penny Ibbott, 75, completed her epic journey over a total of six weeks travelling, which was split in two either side of a pandemic-enforced lockdown.

Starting from her home in Chidham in West Sussex on south coast, she caught the number 700 bus and headed east.

Darting inland and outland, stopping in countless coastal towns, Ibbott headed north through Suffolk and Norfolk and further the east coast.

Every weekday Ibbott, a funeral and wedding celebrant, would spend at least eight hours travelling on different buses to reach her next bed and breakfast.

Upon reaching Berwick-upon-Tweed, she travelled west along the Scottish border, and then headed south, skirting along the border with Wales before traversing Devon and Cornwall en route to Lands End.

Penny Ibbott took a 2,200 mile trip around the edge of England to raise money for her local hospice (SWNS)
Penny Ibbott took a 2,200 mile trip around the edge of England to raise money for her local hospice (SWNS)

The penultimate leg was from Portsmouth to Chidham via Havant where her family and friends were waiting for her final journey - in a vintage, open top bus to finish the final 12 miles home.

The mum-of-three started her adventure on 6 September and reached home on 16 October.

Her second attempt saw her raise £2,500 for St Wilfrid's Hospice in West Sussex, who looked after her husband Geoff, who died of cancer aged 81 in 2016.

Penny masked up as she rode buses around the country (SWNS)
Penny masked up as she rode buses around the country (SWNS)

Ibbott, from Westbourne, West Sussex said: "This is something I'd been planning to do for a very long time.

"Just before the pandemic hit I started my adventure and travelled west instead of east.

"I'd reached Shrewsbury when Boris announced we were going into lockdown and I was forced to return home - it was so disappointing.

"But I didn't lose hope, and, almost 18 months later to the day, I set off again to raise money for St Wilfrid's Hospice who looked after Geoff before he died.

Funeral and wedding celebrant Penny would spend at least eight hours travelling on different buses to reach her next bed and breakfast (SWNS)
Funeral and wedding celebrant Penny would spend at least eight hours travelling on different buses to reach her next bed and breakfast (SWNS)
Ibbott made it up to  Berwick Upon Tweed (SWNS)
Ibbott made it up to Berwick Upon Tweed (SWNS)

"The entire journey took five weeks and five days, and in that time, I met a lot of very interesting and kind people.

"I'm pretty robust but I needed a comfortable bed to sleep in along the way, and as you can imagine choosing the bed and breakfasts was a bit of a lottery. I managed to use my pensioners pass for every English bus free of charge - but on the Scottish side of the border it wasn't valid, so I had to pay a handful of times.

Penny Ibbott in Coldstreem, Birgham  (SWNS)
Penny Ibbott in Coldstreem, Birgham (SWNS)

"My favourite leg of the journey was definitely from Minehead to Lynmouth in Devon because the scenery was just breath-taking."

Ibbott rode a total of around 120 buses during her adventure. 

Prior to her trip, she contacted Collin Ashcroft, an operations manager at Stage Coach. He kept track of Ibbott on her travels and invited friends and family to surprise her on the final leg.

He then organised a vintage, open top bus to drive Penny and her loved ones back to the exact stop she'd set off from six weeks earlier.

Penny, who volunteers at St Wilfrid's charity shop, said: "At points it was quite unnerving when I couldn’t find a bus station or anywhere to stay.

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"There were times when I’d miss a bus and it would send me into a sort of spin because I had to travel an awfully long way.

"It was so surreal getting the bus on the last leg of my trip, and when I arrived all my loved ones had turned out to meet me. They were on this green, vintage, open top bus and my grandkids were there with welcome home signs.

"It was such a lovely moment, and Collin then drove the bus the final few miles to where it all started - and I finished the journey surrounded by my friends and family.

"I had the best time and I'm truly grateful to have had such a wonderful experience whilst raising money for a cause so close to my heart!"

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