Barbara Werndly was an inpatient at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital (RNOH) after becoming paralysed as a result of contracting Polio when she was 13 years old. To see a history of Barbara's life in photographs please click here

Barbara soon realised the difficulties which existed for people requiring the use of wheelchairs to have access to specially adapted vehicles  enabling them to get out and about with family and friends.
So in 1968 with the help and invaluable support from a number of people, a registered charity the Barbara Bus Fund was established.  
The aim of the fund was to provide a means of transport for people within the hospital and the surrounding areas who, for whatever reason, were unable to use public transport or standard vehicles.
Funds were raised by raffles, fetes, donations and fashion shows in order to buy the first converted van.
With the support of a group of Trustees and volunteers, Barbara continued to run the Fund from the RNOH up to when she sadly died in 1995.

The First Barbara BusHowever, since then the Fund has grown in its size and areas of the UK in which it provides its unique and valued service – which often includes usage on holidays.
The vehicles are also used by overseas visitors enabling families and friends to benefit from travelling together.
The Fund is still run by a group of Trustees which includes Barbara’s family, friends, users and drivers.
It also employs part-time coordinators to run the offices, bookings and vehicles maintenance, as well as having the support of numerous volunteer drivers.


Barbara Bus VehiclesToday the Fund has a selection of specially converted vehicles that can accommodate from one to three wheelchairs in comfort, along with several able bodied passengers. All the vehicles are equipped with appropriate wheelchair restraints. 

 We recently uncovered recordings of an interview Barbara gave to Capital Radio in 1975. This gives an interesting insight to Barbara's thoughts and background behind the Barbara Bus Fund. This ethos has remained with the Fund ever since and as it has continued to develop. 
Click here to listen to Barbara telling her story in a 1975 Radio Interview

The full story and background of Barbara’s life and the Barbara Bus Fund were detailed in a book entitled “Barbara – Girl of Courage” written by Penny White.

To see a history of Barbara's life in photographs, including those from the book, please click here
The Trustees of the FundThe Fund currently has 10 vehicles at the RNOH, but has also expanded to include 3 vehicles supporting the Gwynedd region in Wales, 1 vehicle at Stoke Mandeville Hospital and 1 vehicle at Pinderfields Hospital in Yorkshire. Following feedback from users about the benefits it brings in identifying the vehicles, all the vehicles are named after Barbara’s family and people who have supported the Fund over the years.

The ethos of the Fund has remained the same as when it was originally established. This is to ensure that all efforts are made to make the vehicles available to all who need them. As a result it does not charge for the use of the vehicles – however users must ensure that a full tank of fuel is left in the vehicles and the Fund is reliant upon donations to support the costs of running of the Fund and vehicles. 

The History of the Barbara Bus Fund ...