Sir Paul McCartney's 1972 Wings Over Europe tour bus restored to former glory in Essex

  • Watch Hannah Pettifer's report for ITV News Anglia.

A tour bus which carried Sir Paul McCartney and his band Wings around Europe 50 years ago has been restored to its former glory.

The double-decker started life ferrying passengers around the seaside town of Clacton in Essex in the 1950s, before it was bought by the former Beatle.

Sir Paul transformed the open-top bus for his The Wings Over Europe tour in 1972 and it carried him, his wife Linda and their two children Stella and Mary across the continent.

Since its heyday the bus had fallen into disrepair and for decades it was left rusting in Tenerife in Spain.

It has now been brought back to the UK for restoration, ahead of the 50th anniversary of the Wings 1972 tour.

The Wings Over Europe Tour bus of 1972 has been restored to its former glory. Credit: ITV News Anglia

When Bradley Earl, who works at a workshop in Thorpe-Le-Soken in Essex, was approached by the owner about taking on the project, he had no hesitations.

"I rang him up straightaway and said I'll do it," said Mr Earl from Simon Morris Thorpe Ltd.

"My mum's a massive McCartney fan and if I passed the opportunity up she'd kill me.

"You feel like you're walking in his steps as you walk around [the bus]. Paul had a certain seat so every now and then I go and sit in that and see the world through Paul's eyes in 1972."

Paul McCartney and his bad Wings on the top deck of the bus ahead of their 1972 tour of Europe. Credit: Mirrorpix

Having sat outside in Tenerife for 24 years, the bus was in a sorry state when it arrived in Mr Earl's garage.

It was rotten and rusting and most parts needed replacing, but after 16 months in the workshop the transformation was complete.

Mr Earl said the interior of the downstairs saloon was recreated "almost exactly as Paul had it back in 1972", complete with bunkbeds for his children Stella and Mary.

However, they have made a few changes to the upstairs, including the addition of a makeshift stage on the top deck which will be used when the bus is taken to music festivals across the country.

Mr Earl added: "The upstairs we've completely refurbished, with new floors, new panelling, and seats. But when Paul had it, it wasn't like this. He had bean bags, mattresses, blankets over the floor, a child's playpen where the kids played."

There are only a few original parts left of the bus, including the engine.

Mr Earl said: "It's a Gardner engine, five cylinder, and it'll probably outlast most of us. It's done 70 years so far and still starts on the button every time."

Paul McCartney and Wings set off on the Wings Over Europe tour of 1972. Credit: Mirrorpix

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