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L102 LRA has a Northern Counties Paladin body mounted on a Volvo B10B chassis. She was delivered in 1993 to Trent and is owned by Michael Brent. She is affectionately known as Sandra Jane.
The Volvo B10B was launched at the 1992 Commercial Motor Show as the company’s rear engined single decker as opposed to the Volvo B10M whose engine was underfloor mounted. L102 LRA has a 9.6 litre engine.
The Paladin was a major success for Northern Counties, being built on Dennis, Scania, DAF and Volvo chassis from 1991 to 1998.
L102 LRA was numerically the second amongst the first batch of 29 vehicles delivered to the Wellglade Group between August 1993 and January 1994. 102 is the oldest survivor today in preservation. All the buses were new to Trent apart from L124 /125/126/127/128 LRA which were delivered to Barton. They were joined by a later batch of buses from December 1994.
L102 LRA was originally based at Langley Mill, along with her sister L101 LRA were demonstrators. 102 carried Volvo and Northern Counties badges for a number of weeks before losing them in line with Trent’s then policy of not carrying manufacturers names. She is also unique that she was the only Paladin at Trent to carry external lights above the passenger doors. These were not deemed successful and were removed. Michael is planning to reinstate them in the future.
The bus transferred to Notts and Derby in 2005, based at Dove Holes depot for college work at the University of Derby’s campus at Buxton. In 2008 it was painted in blue and white UniBus livery before passing to High Peak buses, a 50/50 operation between Wellglade and Centrebus in April 2012. 102 was renumbered 681 within Centrebus’s fleet numbering scheme. As well as school services, 681 was found on all kinds of work. At 20 years old, she found work on Transpeak from Derby to Manchester. She was withdrawn in 2015 after 22 years service.
She was bought by her current owner Michael Brent in 2017, bodywork restoration started in 2018 and was repainted by Marden’s Commercials of Benfleet Essex. And she transferred to her new home at the Eastern Bus Enthusiasts group at Guyhirn Cambridgeshire in 2019. Whilst here, she has ongoing restoration work by M.R. Judd commercial services, including welding to the chassis, steam clean and painting of the chassis. The brakes were stripped and rebuilt, suspension air bag top plates were replaced as the old plates were rotten. The vehicle was serviced, oil and filter change, gearbox oil changed and a new exhaust was fitted.
Decals were supplied and fitted by Lee Hobson of Decal Central.
In 2019, 102 had represented the Eastern Bus Group at the Isle of Wight beer buses and walks event were she proved very popular.