A NEWENT girl with a passion for buses got the surprise of a lifetime – a private trip to school on a double decker.

Eight-year-old Lottie Ashton was “excited beyond belief” when her very own “birthday bus” pulled up outside her front door.

Dad Gary, a bus driver himself, asked his Stagecoach manager if his “bus nuts” daughter could get a ride in a double decker service to school.

Eight-year-old Lottie loves everything buses – collecting flags and memorabilia and even wearing a revamped old driver’s uniform.

Lottie has limb difficulties after she was born a month prematurely and suffered a heart attack at just four-weeks-old.

Doctors told her parents, Gary and Nicola Ashton that she wouldn’t be able to walk or talk - but that hasn’t held Lottie back from her love of public buses.

Gary said: “Ever since I started working as a driver she’d get so excited to see me on a bus or even saw a bus go past at all.

“She started to collect old bus flags and memorabilia - my mum even fashioned my old uniform into a little uniform that she could wear.

“She wasn’t expecting the birthday surprise at all. We live opposite a secondary school so we have about five buses coming here to do school runs anyway.

“I asked my manager if we could have a bus take her to school as it wouldn’t cost anymore fuel and they agreed.

“When the bus parked up I ran across the road and filled it up with banners and balloons before we took Lottie out to it - she lost it when she saw it.

“She got to sit in the drivers seat and take some pictures with the driver, and then we drove in the double decker bus to her school.

“When we turned up to school all of her friends were excited and so was she.

“Hopefully we can carry on doing this next year as well, and even get a little uniform made up for her when we have a uniform change in May.

“We’ve been gobsmacked by the support.”