SOUTHERN Vectis is laying out the red carpet for its most famous bus in September, as the Old Girl celebrates her 80th birthday.

On Tuesday, the Isle of Wight operator is holding a vintage tea party at Ryde Bus Station, followed by a tour on the old bus, with all proceeds going to the Royal British Legion.

Southern Vectis general manager, Richard Tyldsley, said: “We’re proud and honoured to be custodians of the Old Girl as she reaches her 80th birthday.

“She has the distinction of being the oldest double decker bus still in service with her original owner, anywhere in the UK.

“On Tuesday, it would be great to welcome as many of our customers and other visitors as possible to share in this very special occasion.”

A new, British-made Bristol 5KG, the Old Girl arrived on the Isle of Wight in July, 1939 — 42 days before the start of the Second World War.

She entered service as a standard double-decker, carrying Islanders and visitors during six years of wartime and beyond.

The 80-year-old is now available for private hire, sightseeing and special occasions.

Among those at the birthday party will be Claire Critchison, from Claire’s Kitchen, who is providing a range of crockery to give the celebration a vintage feel.