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The year 2000 turned out to be the busiest we had ever encountered in terms of vehicle acquisitions and rectifications in order to have five different vehicles to take part in this year's Heaton Park event. Although we had last minute problems with EX1 and 1451 and only just managed to finalise work on 7232 and 8001, all five vehicles were ready and members turned up at our Leigh premises at 8:00am on Sunday 3rd September 2000 in order to prepare 7232, EX1, 8001 and 1451.

Also, one member of the video film crew, from F57 Video Productions, also attended at Leigh at the same time to film the preparations of these four vehicles.

At the same time, other members of the SELNEC Preservation Society turned up at our Wigan facility to prepare 8765 for its participation in the Heaton Park Rally. They were joined by a second member of the video crew from F57 Video Productions, who was there to film the preparation of that vehicle leaving Wigan and travelling to Leigh, which it did, joining up with the other four vehicles so that all five could set off in convoy from Leigh in sequence with 7232 (our new exhibition and support vehicle) at the front, followed by EX1 in SELNEC colours, 8001 in GMT colours, 1451 in MK Metro colours with 8765 Greater Manchester's last Atlantean at the rear in First Manchester corporate red.

Because of the fact that 1451 was still displaying MK Metro livery and 8765 First Manchester livery, we put posters in the windows of these vehicles indicating that the legal ownership was actually the SELNEC Preservation Society, so that there wouldn't be any confusion.

The five vehicles on convoy from Leigh to the Museum of Transport were videoed at various locations, as per the filming script, as well as their arrival at the Museum of Transport. It is true that we had to stop occasionally to let the camera crew pack up their equipment and to get in front of the vehicles again so they could film us arriving and leaving at the designated scripted areas. Also, at the Museum of Transport, because it was a particularly busy day, and because of our late arrival, the five vehicles were split up, although we all managed to obtain parking spaces near to the Museum.

Members disembarked from the vehicles and met at the Museum of Transport to plan for the rally ahead before setting off, again in convoy, from the Museum of Transport on the route of the Trans Lancs Historic Vehicle Rally through Middleton, Rochdale and Heywood before arriving at Heaton Park.

Entirely separately, an arrangement had been made for the editor of "Buses Focus", Steven Morris, to drive 1451 on the rally from the Museum of Transport to Heaton Park as part of an article that was being prepared for a special edition of Buses Focus. They wanted to concentrate on the first and last Olympians, and having awaited the last 'W' prefix Olympians to be built and delivered to Yorkshire Coastliner and undertaken a road test on the last one, 437, when they contacted MK Metro to undertake a pre-arranged agreement to drive one of the first Olympians (i.e. 1451, being W suffix), they discovered it had been sold to ourselves on 22nd July 2000.

We were contacted by Steven Morris and readily agreed that he could still undertake his road test on this Olympian, and he agreed to do this in conjunction with our attendance at the Trans Lancs Historic Vehicle Rally during the journey from the Museum of Transport to Heaton Park on 3rd September 2000.

The article has been published subsequently, as mentioned in Society News, featuring the first and last Olympians 20 years apart: 1980 and 2000 (W suffix and W prefix). Again, because of the videoing, we had to stop on a few occasions on the rally, and we were late arriving at Heaton Park, being some of the last exhibits to arrive, but we were found an allocated space and were able to park up the five vehicles together.

We opened up all five buses for the public to look around, in particular 7232 our new exhibition and support vehicle as it had the entire lower deck dedicated to an entirely new display of photographs, distinct and different from those that we had displayed on Exhibus 1066 in previous years.

The weather held out and the day remained gloriously sunny, bright and warm. At the end of the day we turned the five vehicles around into the sunshine, as we had done the previous year on 5th September 1999 with 1066, 7185, 7206, 1751 and 6990, so that photographs could be taken. Photographs of 8001 and 7232 appear in the centre pages of this newsletter and a shot of all five vehicles appears on the cover.

Although 7232 had gained some interest, because of its unusual livery, the vehicle that seemed to steal the show and attract the most amount of interest was 8001. On reflection one can understand why, as it is the very first GMT Standard ever to be returned to GMT colours of Metropolitan Orange and White, despite the fact that there had been thousands built.

At the end there were so many requests to photograph the vehicle on its own that it was driven to an area close to nearby trees so that what appeared to be hundreds of photographers could take front and rear nearside and offside shots in the sunshine.

The photographic session over, all five vehicles returned to Leigh, albeit out of sequence; 1451 left first, followed by 8765, 7232, 8001 and EX1, although 7232 overtook 8765 on the way back.

Upon arrival back at Leigh, 8765 was parked on the main road and the four vehicles that were housed at Leigh; 7232, EX1, 8001 and 1451 were parked up in the side streets by the premises as we now intended to undertake a mini move around before we parked the vehicles up. The premises were partially empty with four vehicles out, and we wanted to take the opportunity to bring forward from the centre of the depot 408 to the front so we could commence work on it as the major restoration project for 2001.

Because of how tightly parked the vehicles are in Leigh, we had to move out of the depot Exhibus 1066 and 7185, and reverse 5001 back a few feet in order for 408 to be driven out into Robertshaw Street. We parked up Olympian 1451 in 408's space, 5001 was moved forward, 7185 and 1066 returned and then we parked up 7232, EX1 and 8001, and finally 408 was put in the front location in our working bay. All this being achieved, 8765 then returned to Wigan, the video crew having filmed the entire day's activities as well as the move around at Leigh and returned home.

Our attendance at this rally in 7232, EX1, 8001, 1451 and 8765 was the subject of a second video production which we have edited down to two hours and 12 minutes from over ten and a half hours of video footage. This 'long' version has been made available to the participants. Last year we offered a short version of the video of our attendance at this rally on 5th September 1999 in 1066, 7185, 7206, 1751 and 6990 to members. Likewise, this year, a shorter version of our attendance at the event on 3rd September 2000 running for approximately one hour and 40 minutes will shortly be available for members to purchase. It has the following format:

PART 1 - Members prepare 7232, EX1, 8001 and 1451 at Leigh 8765 is prepared at Wigan and driven to Leigh

PART 2 - All five vehicles are driven to the Museum of Transport via the East Lancs Road

PART 3 - The vehicles have arrived at the Museum of Transport and preparations are made to undertake the Trans Lancs Road Run to Heaton Park

PART 4 - The buses leave the Museum of Transport to take part in the Road Run via Middleton and Heywood to Heaton Park

PART 5 - All five vehicles arrive at Heaton Park and then go on display to members of the public

PART 6 - The buses are lined up in the sun for photographs before setting off on the return journey

PART 7 - All five buses return to Leigh. 1066 and 7185 are moved to bring 408 to the front and all vehicles are then parked up with 8765 returning to Wigan

PART 8 - Review

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