Optare has worked with the Transport Yorkshire Preservation Group (TYPG) and JD Wetherspoon to celebrate the opening of a pub in Cross Gates named after Charles Henry Roe.

Mr Roe founded Charles H Roe bodybuilders in the early 20th century. The former Roe site in Cross Gates became the first home of Optare until 2011, when it moved to Sherburn-in-Elmet. TYPG approached JD Wetherspoon and suggested that its pub in Cross Gates could be named after Charles Roe. That request was agreed by the chain.

As part of the opening celebrations, a vehicle procession was staged. It included a representative member of the final Roe order placed in 1984, a Leyland Olympian with double-deck bodywork; a very early Optare body mounted on a Leyland Cub chassis from 1986 that is owned by TYPG; an Optare Prisma-bodied Mercedes-Benz O405 in the colours of West Yorkshire independent Black Prince; and a brand new battery-electric Optare Metrodecker EV.

Says James Fairchild, Director of TYPG: “We are pleased to collaborate with both JD Wetherspoon and Optare to look back at the past, while at the same time promoting the bus as a viable post-lockdown form of safe transport for all.

“We had originally planned to hold some form of centenary event this year. But we are now hoping that in spring 2021, 100 years since coachbuilding began in Cross Gates can be celebrated, with the modern-day Optare playing a key role and with other heritage organisations from around the country attending with their historic Leeds-built buses.”