THE chairman of the Henley and District Handibus Scheme is stepping down after 11 years.
Robin Rippon, 77, bowed out at the annual meeting at Henley town hall.
He joined the scheme as a volunteer driver in May 2003 and took over from former chairman Peter Williams later that year.
He initially thought he was only signing up to sort out the drivers’ timetable.
Mr Rippon recalled: “The previous chairman was the one who sorted out the rota and when he left I said I didn’t mind doing it. After I had taken that on they said I had to be chairman as well.”
A highlight of his time as chairman was seeing the Henley Handibus become the first charity run community bus in England to allow passengers to use concessionary bus passes after securing a contract with South Oxfordshire District Council in 2007.
Four years later, he successfully campaigned against Oxfordshire County Council’s plans to stop bus passes being eligible for use on the Henley Handibus, a move which would have added £8,000 to its annual running costs.
Another proud moment came in 2010 when all 14 volunteer drivers passed their Minibus Driver Awareness Scheme exams, with two achieving the maximum 100 per cent.
This year has brought more success for the Henley Handibus with a new £60,000 vehicle due to arrive in August.
Mr Rippon, of Elizabeth Close, Henley, said: “I’m quite proud of the organisation that we have at the moment but the time has come for me to move on to other things.
“I wish the committee well in their efforts to keep the scheme going, especially with the new bus.”
Mr Rippon is looking forward to spending more time with his wife Sue and will continue to volunteer with the Henley and District Talking Newspaper Association.
He is also a warden with the Thames River Society and is keeper of the churchyard at St Nicholas’ Church in Rotherfield Greys.
The trustees of the Henley and District Handibus Scheme will meet over the next few weeks to decide who will take over as chairman.