Straight from the heart – bus firm’s tribute to Harrogate’s unsung Covid-19 heroes

They’re working hard for Harrogate during the Coronavirus pandemic – and their efforts to keep vital services going are recognised in a moving tribute by the town’s leading bus operator to local NHS teams and key workers.

The Harrogate Bus Company has teamed up with local newspaper the Harrogate Advertiser to create a specially liveried ‘Harrogate Heroes’ bus to remind everyone of the important role NHS staff and key workers have in our everyday lives, from postal workers to police officers, carers to cleaners – as they maintain vital services.

The finished bus, resplendent in gleaming red with a blue NHS heart and rainbow, carries photos of local key workers and health service staff. Each was nominated by proud friends and relatives to appear on the sides of the vehicle via social media.

Vital work by the bus firm’s own teams to keep transport links running for key workers and those needing to reach food shops and essential services is also recognised on the back of the bus with pictures of some of its drivers, engineers and support staff based at its headquarters in Starbeck.

The ‘Harrogate Heroes’ bus made its first public appearance at the opening of Harrogate’s new NHS Nightingale Hospital, providing 500 critical care beds in the town’s Convention Centre.

The Harrogate Bus Company CEO Alex Hornby said: “As key workers ourselves, our drivers and support teams know first-hand how important it is to keep on serving local people by helping others who need to make a journey, including to and from work or to pick up food or access services.

“We know there are many unsung heroes doing all kinds of jobs right now who deserve our community’s thanks, and so we decided to recognise them by covering our ‘Harrogate Heroes’ bus with their photos, along with the jobs they do – with our amazing NHS workers given pride of place.

“In partnership with the Harrogate Advertiser, we invited nominations to appear on this very special bus, and we’re delighted with the positive response from so many people who clearly share our desire to recognise those who do so much for us all.

“We’ve already had an amazing reaction to our ‘Harrogate Heroes’ bus – and we’ll be creating more Heroes buses across the North, in each of the towns we serve, working with local media partners to create a fitting tribute to the often unsung heroes of our communities.”

The Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust’s Chief Executive Steve Russell said: “The remarkable care, compassion and resilience being shown by NHS staff and key workers in our community is at the heart of this wonderful tribute by The Harrogate Bus Company.

“The dedication of so many wonderful people makes me incredibly proud to be part of a team of over 4,000 colleagues at HDFT pulling out every stop every single day.

“While I’m so proud of the NHS, there’s no way we could do all this without the support of key workers in the NHS and beyond in the wider community. They’re an invisible army, often receiving little recognition, and this ‘Harrogate Heroes’ bus will make all who see it think for a moment about the vitally important work being done to keep our community going. We’re so grateful for their hard work and support.

“Just as many of our wider key worker family put themselves at risk to keep our Town, our County and our Country going through this unprecedented time, I hope that their contribution will always be remembered, and they’ll continue to be held up as the heroes that they are.”

More information on the ‘Harrogate Heroes’ bus, and up to date travel information and advice during the Coronavirus pandemic, is available online at: