Getting on and loving it
Kevin Beresford and Arthur Smith filming The One Show on the 11
Kevin Beresford is getting on - and loving it.
The President of the UK Roundabout Association has found time in his busy schedule to become a champion for senior citizens’ bus travel. Small Heath’s Kevin Beresford, 67, is now the “face” of a National Express West Midlands ad campaign encouraging people to make use of their free bus pass.
“This is a labour of love for me,” says Kevin. “I’m a photographer, and I believe great art is found in mundane things. Andy Warhol painted cans of soup; Tracey Emin had her bed; even Van Gogh painted just a pipe on a chair. If you have imagination, the world’s your oyster. I take my camera everywhere, and having a bus pass gives you freedom to jump off when something catches your eye.
“Obviously, roundabouts are always interesting - you can put anything on a roundabout. I’ve been filmed talking about roundabouts by crews from all over the world - Korea, CNN. The French have the best roundabouts in the world - my favourite is the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.
“My favourite bus is the 11, the Outer Circle - there are so many iconic destinations on that route. I made a calendar of 12 interesting places on that route.
“I also did a Real Tolkein Trail,” - the Lord of the Rings author lived near Sarehole Mill in Moseley. “You can see lots of the locations that inspired those books on the number 11 route. There’s a film coming out in May that tells the story of Tolkein at school - I’m looking forward to that.”
Kevin thinks his relatives will be pleased to see him in the new marketing campaign.
“My sons find me a bit embarrassing - especially the roundabouts thing. But my older sister will be chuffed - she thinks I’m famous! My family live in all different parts of the compass now. But they’re still fascinated by pictures of Birmingham.”
Kevin agrees with the Buses Minister, Nusrat Ghani, who said last month when launching the government’s Loneliness Strategy:
“Transport has a vital role to play in tackling loneliness and bringing people together. Something as simple as a bus journey can put a smile on someone’s face.”
“That’s spot on,” says Kevin. “You’ve got to get out there, not just sit and mope. People in Birmingham - everybody’s chatty. If you can get out, that’s half the battle. It’s part of the healing process, it’s free and it’s liberating. I call my bus pass my Freedom Pass.”
He also believes the older generation should use the bus rather than using a car for just one person.
“It’s a noble gesture if we use the bus more often - it’s better for the ecosystem. Plus it’s easier. Driving a car into the city, with congestion and the parking costs - it’s a nightmare. The bus is lots more convenient - you can have a laugh and a joke with your friends, and even a beer!
“You also see more from a bus - especially if you go upstairs. You can see the canals, which you can’t see from a car. George Clooney should have come here for his wedding - we’ve got more canals than Venice!”