They said it could never be done – but 81-year-old Maggie Moore has become the first person to circumnavigate Suffolk by bus.
The thrill-seeking pensioner has climbed Himalayan mountains in the past, but this year Maggie swapped K2 for the number 62 as she left herself at the mercy of public transport.
“I knew that travelling by bus in Suffolk was difficult, but I never realised it was this difficult,” said Maggie as she clambered off the number 173 to a crowd of journalists and well-wishers on her triumphant return to Felixstowe.
“Until you’ve experienced it yourself, you can never understand the extraordinary mental and physical effort it takes to get from Brandon to Eye on a Sunday.
“Climbing six thousand metres at high altitude is nothing compared with trying to figure out the timetable for the number 312.”
Maggie Moore, third left, on the Lowestoft leg of her trip
Moore’s epic trip took her on a treacherous circular route around the edge of the county, taking in the likes of Ipswich, Sudbury, Brandon and Lowestoft, before finally returning to her home town of Felixstowe on Saturday. In total, the journey took 63 days, during which time she consumed 72 flasks of tea, 253 cheese sandwiches and 20 packets of peppermint creams.
“I had to deal with a lot – loneliness, isolation, body odour. There were some dark times,” admitted Maggie. “Anybody who takes a bus in Suffolk and tells you they haven’t thought about suicide is lying.”
Maggie’s epic voyage has proved an inspiration to the people of her home town, as Felixstowe resident Lorraine Fisher, 34, admitted. “She’s a great role model. Young people in Suffolk will look up to Maggie and realise that, one day, if they work hard and are prepared to make sacrifices, they can take a bus journey too.”
But fellow resident John Mortimer, 62, was less enthusiastic. “I don’t agree with taxpayers’ money being wasted on free bus trips for adventurers. What if she had become stranded and had to be rescued?”
The story also made headlines in Essex, where reports claim Maggie’s journey has finally proved that Suffolk is round.
Meanwhile, here’s a bonus for you…