The Double Decker Club

Written by Alan Bissell

This is a story which takes us back to the mid 60s when a holiday across the Channel was something of a dream for many young Brits.

However, the Cliff Richard film “Summer Holiday” gave 22 yr old Tim Lewis of Twickenham an idea that captured the spirit of of the time – he bought a red London double decker bus from London Transport and placed a small advert on the front page of The Times.

It attracted 40 young students from across the country and in the summer of 1964 the bus set off for foreign shores for a 3 week camping holiday through France, Belgium, Holland and Germany to the Swiss border – a round trip of about 2,000 miles.

luxembourg trier

So successful was it, that the Double Decker Club, popularly known as the DDC was was formed and a series of european holidays followed, that continued throughout the 60s. The club also had a lively social life which included dances, parties, bring-and-buy sales, day trips by bus to Brands Hatch, and the Isle of Wight and weekend trips to Wissant, Pas de Calais.

But it was the continental holidays that left the indelible memories.

The DDC has long since ceased to exist but now, 50 years later, a small group of us who were the original drivers etc are organising a reunion which will take place on 16th April in Richmond upon Thames.

To date we have traced 58 former members from across the country who will be joining us to ‘roll back the years’ – the original bus will be there too, having been lovingly restored by one of them. However, we are convinced that there are others who still live in the local area or have family members who do, who would love the opportunity to join us.

We hope that they will see this and get in touch so that we can invite them. Most will by now be in their mid 60s – early 70s.

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If you would like to join Alan and the other members of the DDC, get in touch with us and we will pass your message on…

11 comments to The Double Decker Club

  • Brian Malyon

    My brother Colin went on a trip, think it was the one above. Following year he had a brochure and there was a trip to Germany and Denmark with a one and half deck ex BEA airport coach. I went on this with a friend, Gordon Coe.
    It was a truly amazing trip, one which I talk about often with current friends. Especially the first and last nights on the ferry, Prinz Hamlet.
    Have put 16th April in the diary, very much intend to be there.
    Brian

    • ALAN BISSELL

      Brian
      Good to hear that you are intending to be at the DDC reunion in Richmond upon Thames.
      Will you please send confirmation ASAP to my email address.
      It is good to know that article “Totally Richmond” kindly included on this site is reaching those who were members back in those fun filled times.
      ALAN BISSELL

  • David Snell

    Hi Bryan, I was your driver on the 1967 trip to Denmark. I seem to remember we all had a great sing-song both outbound and inbound. I will be at the reunion of course

    All the best

    David Snell

  • Barbara skipper

    Hi I was just relaying my first trip abroad with my granddaughter and we looked it up on the Internet and there I was ,I am in the picture ,I’m the one wearing glasses,I went with my frien and her sister ,they are behind the umbrella , it was a great holiday and it was my first trip that made me fall in love with France

    • ALAN BISSELL

      Hi Barbara
      Good to hear that you were on the DDC holiday – we would love to have you join us all at the reunion in Twickenham on the 16th April 2016. Do please email me for more details at : ddc.alan@yahoo.co.uk
      Best wishes
      ALAN

    • ALAN BISSELL

      Hi Barbara
      We really would love to have you join us at the reunion in Twickenham on the 16th April.
      We would like also to invite your two friends that you mention are in the photo. Are you still in touch with them – if so can you please ask them to get in touch with me on email or conversely do you have an address or email address for them. Since our records are incomplete, what were their names ?
      Thank you
      ALAN BISSELL

    • ALAN BISSELL

      Hi Barbara
      We missed you and your two friends at what was a wonderful reunion with 82 former DDC members and friends present along with the old red double decker bus that many of us fondly called Lulu because of its registration plate LLU 829.
      Since we don’t have the passenger lis from that holiday, could you please remind us of your maiden name and also the names of your friend and her sister who you say are in the photo behind the umbrellas.
      Thank you so much
      Best wishes
      ALAN (DDC driver and DDC holiday organiser)

  • Alan Bissell

    The Double Decker Club Reunion

    Were you one of the 300+ members of the Double Decker Club who travelled abroad on the holidays in the red London bus between 1964 and 1969?

    Five of the original organisers have arranged a reunion in Twickenham on 16 April 2016, and would like to invite as many former members as possible to join them and roll back the years. ‘Lulu’ the bus, now beautifully restored will be there too.

    Please write to Alan Bissell, Elmswood, Allt Goch, Flint, Flintshire CH6 5NF or email ddc.alan@yahoo.co.uk

  • dave miller

    I was unable to attend the reunion of the DDC club. I was sorry not to be at reunion. I went on the trip to Switzerland 50 years ago this month I worked with mike hodges at loyder press, I was a litho printer.
    I worked with a young lad called Gus (David) sorry don’t remember surname who was also on the trip, he took a guitar on the trip which I still have not sure how it came to be in my possession. I worked at Loyder press until 1968 then onto Bradbury Wilkinson Bank note printers, I moved from Hampton Hill to Merton Park after I met my wife. regards Dave Miller.

  • ALAN BISSELL

    Hi David
    What a wonderful surprise to hear from you after half a lifetime
    I have already responded to you via Facebook but do please email me at the following DDC email address : ddc.alan@yahoo.co.uk
    I know that Mike and Gus will be equally pleased and astounded that you are in contact with us. I’d be pleased of course to send you some pics etc from those wonderful days back in the 60’s. I may be wrong but I seem to recall that you were known as ‘Loop’ back then.
    Best wishes
    ALAN BISSELL. ( better known as ‘WACK’ back then)

  • ALAN BISSELL

    Hi David
    What a wonderful surprise to hear from you after almost half a lifetime.
    I am sorry that you missed the reunion and I know that Mike And Gus will be too.
    I have already posted a reply to you on the DDC Reunion Facebook page together with my DDC Reunion email address. So do please get back in touch..
    I have a vague feeling that we knew you as ‘Loop’ back then, but I may be wrong ?
    It would be great to put you back in touch with Mike hodges and David (Gus) Gullick too.
    Best wishes
    ALAN BISSELL ( better known as ‘WACK’ back then )

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