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Driver reveals how he had to take the wheel when Norwich City promotion bus broke down

PUBLISHED: 14:36 08 May 2019 | UPDATED: 16:20 08 May 2019

Don Grunbaum jumped in the seat of a City Sightseeing bus when Norwich City's decorated bus broke down before their Sky Bet Championship promotion parade. Picture: Neil Didsbury

Don Grunbaum jumped in the seat of a City Sightseeing bus when Norwich City's decorated bus broke down before their Sky Bet Championship promotion parade. Picture: Neil Didsbury

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The City Sightseeing bus driver who stepped in to take the wheel after the official Norwich City promotion parade bus broke down has revealed how it was "one of the hardest drives" of his life.

Norwich City footballers celebrate going up to the Premier League on the parade bus being driven by Don Grunbaum. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYNorwich City footballers celebrate going up to the Premier League on the parade bus being driven by Don Grunbaum. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Don Grunbaum came to the rescue after the vehicle which had been specially decked out in yellow and green for the Canaries' promotion procession developed problems.

Mr Grunbaum explained how they had picked up the players at Carrow Road to take to them to City Hall, but got as far as the King Street lights to turn onto Bracondale, when the bus wouldn't pull away.

He said: "I spent a few minutes cursing in my head, being worried, trying to get it going. After what seemed forever, but was probably only three or four minutes I managed to get the bus going again to a loud cheer from the boys upstairs and we got to City Hall with no further incident."

But, because of the problems, Mr Grunbaum's fellow driver Ivan Fisher, who had been due to drive the yellow and green bus in the parade, suggested they fetch the spare City Sightseeing bus from near Norwich International Airport.

Norwich City footballers celebrate going up to the Premier League on the parade bus. The bus which had developed problems is behind. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYNorwich City footballers celebrate going up to the Premier League on the parade bus. The bus which had developed problems is behind. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Police drove Mr Fisher there and escorted him and the bus back into the city centre, so it could serve as back-up.

The 71-year-old former ambulance driver said the players were on the yellow bus, but at the Grapes Hill roundabout it would not pull away again, so they were transferred to the City Sightseeing bus, with Mr Grunbaum driving.

Mr Grunbaum, who lives in East Harling, said: "Once the weight got off the bus, it decided it was going to move again, There was again some discussion of 'do we swap back again, but it was quickly said 'no, because we'll look absolutely stupid if it does pack up again'.

"So I then carried on with the parade, which wasn't what I was expecting. It was disappointment for Ivan, who was driving the decorated bus.

Last minute substitute Don Grunbaum jumped in a City Sightseeing bus when Norwich City's yellow decorated bus broke down before their Championship promotion parade. Picture: Neil DidsburyLast minute substitute Don Grunbaum jumped in a City Sightseeing bus when Norwich City's yellow decorated bus broke down before their Championship promotion parade. Picture: Neil Didsbury

"I enjoyed it, I have to say it was one of the hardest drives I've ever done, not because of the crowds and that, but because the bus wanted to go a lot faster than we wanted to go on the parade and I was having to slow it down on the brakes all the time."

Mr Grunbaum admitted he was relieved he hadn't known at the time that captain Grant Hanley had stood on the roof.

He added: "I haven't been bus driving that long, it's not my career, it's a retirement project really. This comes from a hobby when I was 11, bus spotting in London."

So, was this a dream come true for a life-long Canaries supporter? Not quite.

Mr Grunbaum said: "I'm a Leyton Orient fan and they've got back in the league, so I should be down there celebrating."

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