Countryfile crew show their support for surf bus service
NORTH Devon's new surf bus brought a curious BBC film crew to Croyde this week.
The BBC is producing a Countryfile episode exploring the effects of cuts to rural bus services.
ALL ABOARD: John Craven talks with members of Croyde Surf Club.
The focus on the new transport for surfers, arriving to the region this summer, is being highlighted by the BBC as a rare success during a bleak time for public services.
The North Devon Surf Bus will soon be seen on roads around the area as final alterations are made to two buses in order for surfers and their surfboards to be accommodated.
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Isabelle Bromham, from North Devon Plus, said: "It is really exciting, the whole project is nearly at the point of launching and to have the BBC is an extra bonus."
The film crew captured 13 young surfers stopping a bus at the Croyde Road bus stop on Tuesday morning to show how life changing the additional transport will be to so many local surfers, as well as tourists.
Carl Johnston, producer for BBC News and Current Affairs, said: "We didn't want the programme focusing on all the negative aspects of the rural bus service cuts, and a surf bus is a great example of accessible solutions to struggling rural communities."
The group of surfers were also filmed in the water and BBC presenter John Craven interviewed a father and daughter who are looking forward to the changes the surf bus will bring.
Matt Knight is the contest director for Croyde Surf Club and has four children who are all keen surfers.
Matt and his daughter Harriet told the BBC what problems local surfers experience when the younger generation have to rely on parents to transport them to the region's beaches.
Mr Knight has surfed all over the world for 30 years and has been living in Georgeham for the last 15 years.
He believes the surf bus will boost the local economy through easier access and support kids who love the outdoors.
He said: "Other countries have better systems in place to help surfers get to the best locations and publicity from the BBC is what will help drive it.
"A comparison to ski resorts shows how badly equipped the area is for its main sport that also drives the local tourism."
Laura Crane, 16, from Croyde, has been surfing for six years and is a national champion.
Laura will not be able to drive for another few months but is doubtful whether she will be able to afford a car with insurance premiums at an all time high.
She said: "When you don't drive it is difficult to rely on your parents to drive you around and the surf bus will really help."
The North Devon Surf Bus will be launched in early May.
The Countryfile episode featuring the North Devon Surf Bus will go out on BB1 on Sunday, March 13 at 7pm.