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Drama on the Probus Express

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You might think that the role of Social Secretary of Audlem Probus club is fairly straight forward. Well it is at times, – plan the outings 6 – 12months ahead, reconnoitre them and organise them in detail and act as courier on the day. Now a new dimension has been added that of quick action in an emergency.

The story starts with a beautiful sunny day in Audlem Tuesday 14th May when 37 members and guests assemble in the car park for a visit to Bodnant Gardens and LLandudno as our favourite Coach company, Happy Days, arrived on time as always. Out jumped our long standing driver Andy which pleased us all.

We head off in the direction of Chester to pick up the trunk road A55 to North Wales in a very happy mood. This went well until we approached Chester when a massive traffic tail back was experienced. Our Driver Andy using his initiative turned the coach around and set off on a detour around country roads. All went well until the driver made a minor wrong turn and needed to reverse. Unfortunately a car had crept up immediately behind the coach and the coach reversed into it. Minor damage only so we soon proceeded.

We bypassed the traffic and set out on the A483 to pick up the A55 to North Wales. Then it all happened, as we approached the roundabout at the A483/ A55 junction. Our driver was slowing down to approach the roundabout when he suddenly collapsed at the wheel. Our Social Secretary Jerry Sullivan and President David Hughes, jumped into action steering the coach onto the central grass verge and avoiding a lampost.

This was quickly followed by members / guests with medical experience going to the drivers aid whilst the ambulance and police arrived, and took him to hospital.

The Coach company sent out a relief driver and the members / guests decision was to continue to Bodnant although there was no time for LLandudno. This turned out to be an excellent decision as the 4hrs spent at Bodnant were superb with the Azalias, Camelias and Rhododendrons at their best at this time of year.

All went well on the return journey until the turning for Chester and Wrexham off the A55 was missed and we spent two or three loops driving around Queensferry to recover.

All returned home safely having had an enjoyable but exciting day out. We are now thinking of sending our social secretaries on HGV psv Driving courses, Heart Start courses and first aid courses. We believe our driver, who collapsed has since recovered and left hospital.

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