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Bus plays big role in life, sports stars reveal how it helped shape careers

Yorkshire sports stars from the present and the past have revealed how powerful a simply bus journey proved to be in helping them to develop their careers on the eve of big matches in two world cups.

As she and the England squad prepare for their opening game in Rugby League World Cup on Tuesday 1 November, Caitlin Beevers, the Leeds Rhinos full back admits “I wouldn’t be in the position I am today” when she thinks back to regular trips and the camaraderie and laughter she enjoyed when travelling with team-mates from college to training.

“If I hadn’t been able to get the bus to training it would probably have hindered by spotting selection,” she says. “Getting the bus twice a week was good to get to know each other a bit more outside of training.”

Caitlin has helped First Bus to make a series of short films with well-known people and members of the public to show how important the bus can be in shaping choices and connecting with a passion in life to encourage more people to try bus travel.

Yorkshire and England bowling legend, Ryan Sidebottom recalls being a nine-year-old going to a football match for the first time with his dad, Arnie, who also played for the club and England and enjoyed a career in football at Manchester Utd.

“After being on the bus I was very inspired. I wanted to follow in my father’s footsteps and play football or cricket professionally.”

He cites winning the T20 World Cup in the Caribbean in 2010 as his England career highlight and is following this year’s competition closely as the team try to repeat their success.

Ryan says the bus trips were special and helped him to think because of the time he got to spend with his dad, who would be away from home a lot with playing duties. “It meant so much to talk about sport and have quality time with my dad. It was something I always loved.”

For Arnie, the bus trips were precious moments with his son. He says: “To go on the bus to a match was a fantastic day out for both of us.”

He too is certain how important the bus was to the career he enjoyed at the highest level in two different sports.

“If I wouldn’t have had the bus to get to the nets at Headingley my career wouldn’t have progressed,” he says. Getting the bus to a trial match that would see him eventually play with George Best, Bobby Charlton and Denis Law was just as pivotal in his life. “I would have been stuck in my own town in a career I didn’t want. The bus means everything, to be fair.”