Megabus helps Hemel Hempstead siblings reunite with 'Granny Lou' and 'Big Grandad Nick' after eight months apart
The coach operator is launching a ‘Grand Reunion’ ticket, offering grandparents free travel to visit their family for a year
A family from Hemel Hempstead are part of a short film showing the emotional reunion of grandparents with their grandchildren as part of Megabus's 'Grand Reunion' ticket which aims to bring together long-distance families.
Coach operator megabus organised for grandparents Nick Plowright and Louise Plowright from Southampton to road-test the service via 'The Grand Reunion' ticket and they were reunited with their grandchildren Archie Rollini, 10 and nine-year-old Ava Rollini, from Hemel Hempstead, who haven’t seen each other for over eight months due to the pandemic.
In fact ‘Nanny Lou’ and ‘Big Grandad’ as they are affectionately known have only seen their grandchildren twice since last March due to restrictions.
Research from megabus has shown that grandparents have been hit especially hard by the coronavirus pandemic, missing out on 49 hugs, 47 kisses, 40 conversations and 25 family meals with their grandkids after eight months apart.
The study also showed that the average grandparent wasn't able to be there for major milestones, like first steps, first words and first days of nursery.
In response, megabus have launched an industry-first 'Grand Reunion' ticket, which will bring together long-distance grandparents and grandchildren, with 10 specially-selected families given free travel to visit one another on megabus' entire network for a year.
Ava and Archie are extremely close with their grandparents and have missed spending time with them over the last year.
Ava said: “Having the chance to reunite with big grandad and Nanny Lou is just so exciting!
"I really miss the bonfires and all the marshmallows we used to toast together. Being reunited will just feel like old times and I am really looking forward to staying over.”
Archie added: “Seeing my grandparents is honestly one of the best things! I am so happy to be able to hug them again and squeeze them super tight. We love to go to the beach with them and of course eat lots of ice-cream.”
Nanny Lou said: “We’ve become very old since lockdown, we need them back in our life to give us that energy and make us feel youthful again.
"We cannot wait to spend time doing all the things we love and be around Ava and Archie’s infectious enthusiasm once again.”
On being reunited and part of the campaign, Ava said: "It was amazing to see Nanny Lou and Big Grandad. I was so happy when I saw them getting off the bus I thought my heart was going to explode!”
Archie said: “I have been so excited to see them again for so long and it was just great to have them back at our house again. I showed them all the new tricks I have learnt on the trampoline and they even said I have grown!”
Mark Venables, managing director from megabus said: "With 61 per cent of parents saying that missing grandparents has been one of the hardest things for their kids this past year, we’re really excited to help grandparents get back on the road and travel with confidence to see loved ones across the UK through great value coach travel.
"The past year has been tough on everyone, but what’s clear from the research is that grandparents play a vital role in their grandkids' lives.
"With our megabus coaches offering strict cleaning regimes and safety measures to keep everyone safe on board, we hope that the new 'Grand Reunion' will allow more grandparents to reconnect with their grandchildren, and we look forward to being a part of the journey as a more normal life resumes."
Hoping to bring a smile to kids’ faces up and down the country, the megabus Grand Reunion ticket is available for 10 sets of grandparents. To apply for the Grand Reunion ticket, click here.
Megabus hopes the campaign encourages grandparents and those of all ages to reconnect with their loved ones, and with services such as reserved seating and extra legroom seats, customers can travel in comfort and confidence. To book tickets visit the megabus website.