Jan and Grant Bingley

Jan and Grant Bingley . . . passionate supporters of chaplaincy.

By Paul O'Rourke

Jan Bingley’s long support of chaplaincy and mentoring goes back to her father who helped Deloraine school chaplains, even leaving a donation to the work in lieu of flowers at his funeral.

Bob Loone, a former lay preacher from Chudleigh, was a strong advocate for children, youth and families.

Jan, who owns the Merseylink bus service with husband, Grant, said the family home was a safe haven for anyone and everyone who needed a meal or a place to stay.

“I look back on my own upbringing and am so thankful for the love we experienced and the opportunities we were given,” she said.

“Lots of other families don’t have that support.

“That’s why we love chaplaincy. It’s so practical and powerful in changing the course of someone’s life.

“CEO Andrew Hillier shared at our church about how the driver mentor program resulted in a young person being the first family member in 30 years to get their licence and a job.

“Things seem to be getting harder and harder for families.

“That story really proves the value of chaplaincy.

Everyone should support chaplaincy

“We would encourage everyone who cares about children and families to financially and practically support this amazing organisation.

“It’s the church’s responsibility to open our arms to hurting children and families. Chaplaincy is a strategic way of doing this.”

The driver mentor program and traineeships for youth at-risk resonates with Jan who, with her family, manages 90 buses and 120 staff.

“We never planned to be as big as we are, but it gives us the opportunity to give back to organisations such as Devonport Chaplaincy and many other worthwhile causes,” Jan said.

Buses are in the blood. Jan’s parents had three buses and a farm supply business. Her husband Grant had six buses.

Jan and Grant took over the family business before expanding the bus company over the past decade.

Merseylink's huge footprint

The company now operates commuter and coach services from Westbury to Wesley Vale, Boat Harbour to Burnie, and Cradle Mountain to Lake St Clair. They also operate the Mersey River ferry service linking Devonport with East Devonport.

The East Devonport depot is as much known for the sometimes-standing colorful fibreglass animals grazing along the fenceline, as the dozens of gleaming buses lined up in the carpark.

“Westbury Primary School gave us a brightly-colored cow many years ago and we put it out the front. Other animals have been added, bringing a focus to the business.

“Unfortunately, sometimes the cows get blown over in the wind.

“You wouldn’t believe how many calls and comments we get about the animals.”

The Bingleys, who have three children and four grandchildren, and have strong links to the North West and Meander Valley.