‘Without these buses, people are stranded’

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Dozens of former miners have been left home alone after vandals damaged charity minibuses.

The two vans were left with windows and windscreens shattered and are currently out of action.

Vandals have smashed the windows of minibuses which the Thornycroft Centre uses to pick up ex-miners and their families each day, leaving dozens of members stranded at home.

Vandals have smashed the windows of minibuses which the Thornycroft Centre uses to pick up ex-miners and their families each day, leaving dozens of members stranded at home.

The two minibuses belong to the Coal Industry Social Welfare Organisation (CISWO), and are used to transport ex-miners and their families to Pontefract’s Thornycroft centre.

The centre helps to combat loneliness by offering hot food and social opportunities to former miners who may otherwise be alone.

The charity’s chief executive, Nicola Didlock, warned that the vandalism would mean many members were stranded in their own homes.

“We can normally collect about 40 people a day,” she said. “But we cover quite a big geographical patch and we can’t pick everybody up in one minibus.

“The sad thing is it’s predominantly our members that will suffer from this, it’s not the organisation or the staff.

“We know that for some of those people, it’s the only time that they get to leave their house and see people during the week.

“It’s really sad that we’re not going to be able to help them.”

The damage was first noticed by members of staff at the Halfpenny Lane office on the morning of Friday, October 19.

Until repairs can be made, CISWO have been left with just one minibus in which to collect their members.

CISWO hope that the minibuses will be repaired and back in use before the end of the week, but have been forced to cancel collections while repairs are organised.

Anyone with any information on the vandalism is asked to contact West Yorkshire Police on 101, quoting crime reference number 13180523561.

CISWO offers support to former miners and their families and is also open to other members of the community. For more information on the charity, call 01977 703384.