A competition to name a brand new fleet of buses could see some of Hemel Hempstead’s brightest and bravest immortalised in one of the town’s most popular public transport routes.
The idea by Arriva Buses to honour some of the most famous and best-loved people in the town – both past and present – saw entries flood in for everyone from an historic king to an Olympic hero.
The bus provider has selected a shortlist of 10 which will again be whittled down by the public to form the final seven for the Number 2 route.
Among the suggestions are Henry after the infamous Tudor king Henry VIII, who introduced the Royal Charter to the town, and Geoffrey to commemorate the architect Jellicoe who designed the once-iconic Water Gardens.
Other historic nominations include the first name of papermaker John Dickinson who established the Apsley paper mill. Peter Burford, visitor services manager at Frogmore Mill, said: “John played a huge part in the development of Hemel Hempstead, employing about 6,500 people. It was a huge enterprise, so very fitting that he should be commemorated. We’ll tell all our visitors to cast their votes for John.”
Former Gazette editor Tom Price, who died after losing his battle with cancer in 2008, aged 61, also features in the shortlist.
His brother-in-law David Furnell described him as a “bastion of the community”.
Also available to vote on are the names of two prolific murder victims whose deaths shocked and brought together the people of the town. Billy Dove’s father Paul said his son’s nomination would keep his memory alive for year’s to come, while Jill Neaves, the widow of murdered off-duty policeman Frank Mason, said: “Frank would have thought it was great fun to be remembered that way.”
Frank’s police colleague Siobhan McCabe said: “If ‘Frank’ was chosen, it would be poignant timing because this is the year he would have been due to retire from the police.
“If the buses could take on the characteristics of the people they are named after, his will be busy, reliable and always on time.”
Other names include Max after Team GB gymnast Max Whitlock, Brocks, to reflect on the former Brocks Firework building, Arky, marking the contribution of group scout leader Simon ‘Arky’ Fancourt, and Jack after teen epilepsy sufferer and Olympic torchbearer Jack Gatehouse.
To vote on the final seven names, email the name of your choice only to firstname.lastname@example.org, text it to 07702 718640 or tweet @arrivatheshires by February 21.
Visit the Arriva Shires Facebook page for more.