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Popemobile not taking to the roads for Leyland Festival 2018

Pope John Paul II in his Leyland-built Popemobile during his 1982 visit to the town and the UK.
Pope John Paul II in his Leyland-built Popemobile during his 1982 visit to the town and the UK.
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Leyland Festival is praying for divine intervention after it was revealed that the famous Popemobile will be out of use for this year’s jamboree.

The colossal white modified truck is used in the summer festival’s parade through Leyland town centre before a fun-filled day in Worden Park.

The Popemobile in the Britsh Commercial Vehicle Museum

The Popemobile in the Britsh Commercial Vehicle Museum

But this year the vehicle is being stored at Leyland’s DAF Assembley Plant due to reported high costs in getting it back on the road.

Leyland Coun Derek Forrest said: “The Popemobile is being stored at the DAF site and this year wont be available for the festival because of insurance costs.”

Coun Forrest added that a £1,000 cost had been quoted to get the truck roadworthy for the festival.

The councillor is now hoping for someone to come forward with alternative modes of transport that are equally as awe-inspiring for the Mayoral party to use.

Pope John Paul II (alias Bill Bird the Liverpool policeman) puts his feet up while Sarah Moss of Leyland Brownies pours the tea. The surprise was part of a national challenge in which thousands of brownies arranged the most unusual tea-party. The Leyland Brownies chose to stage theirs in the world famous Popemobile

Pope John Paul II (alias Bill Bird the Liverpool policeman) puts his feet up while Sarah Moss of Leyland Brownies pours the tea. The surprise was part of a national challenge in which thousands of brownies arranged the most unusual tea-party. The Leyland Brownies chose to stage theirs in the world famous Popemobile

Coun Forrest said: “You never know, someone might come forward with their own Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.”

Outgoing South Ribble Mayor Michael Titherington told the Post that “there was some concerns” over the vehicle’s future going into this year.

Mayor Titherington said: “At the last festival we had some great times in there with the grandchildren and my wife.

“It will be a big disappointment. It’s an iconic vehicle used for when the Pope visited Leyland.”

The Popemobile is a 24 ton truck with bullet proof glass and under-floor armour after originally constructed by Leyland Trucks in 1982 for when the late Pope John Paul II who visited the town.