Show must go on for vintage touring bus

Ray Laidlaw and Steve Bishop with the TyneIdols bus.
Ray Laidlaw and Steve Bishop with the TyneIdols bus.

An iconic tour bus is back on the road after thousands of pounds worth of new audio equipment was stolen – only days after it was blessed.

The restored vintage Atlantean double-decker bus was blessed by the Revd Dr Paul Collins, Vicar of Holy Island’s St Mary’s Church, ahead of its use by TyneIdols.

These callous thieves have tried to spoil that enjoyment for others but ‘the show must go on’

Ray Laidlaw

But just hours before its first tour to the Island to see Ray Laidlaw and Billy Mitchell perform their stage show The Lindisfarne Story, owners found the bus had been broken into at the secure storage compound near Earsdon.

Callous thieves took around £3,500 worth of amplifiers, speakers and sound systems. Seats were also damaged, leaving the TyneIdols team only minutes to clean up the mess, fit alternative sound equipment and pick up their waiting passengers.

Ex-Lindisfarne drummer Ray Laidlaw said: “It’s very ironic that our business is about making people happy by helping them to remember their personal good times in rock’n’roll and the cinema.

“These callous thieves have tried to spoil that enjoyment for others but ‘the show must go on’ so I’m pleased to say that the bus journey went ahead as planned and every one had a great time.”

North Tyneside Council and Keir have stepped in to help the TyneIdols team by allocating a secure parking space for the double-decker.

Steve Bishop, senior manager at the council, said: “The TyneIdols team is an important part of the region’s culture. They attract visitors to the region and give a very positive impression of the north east’s entertainment industry.

“The bus will be a welcome visitor to one of our secure compounds.”

The next public TyneIdols tour will be at the Mouth of The Tyne Festival.