Coffee for a cause

FANCY A BREW?: Lawrence Norton has transformed an old double decker bus into a space that serves as both his home and the Twice As Nice Gallery Cafe.
FANCY A BREW?: Lawrence Norton has transformed an old double decker bus into a space that serves as both his home and the Twice As Nice Gallery Cafe.

The first time Lawrence Norton happened upon an old double decker bus in a quarry he knew his life was about to change forever.

Lawrence discovered the 1949 Leyland Sydney bus when he was working as a linesman 12 years ago, and in what he describes as an 'ah-ha!' moment, he knew he was going to use it for a charity drive.

Now Lawrence operates his own business, the Twice as Nice Gallery Cafe, out of the bus which he has completely refurbished. He is driving it around Australia, serving coffee to residents and raising funds for The Eli's Gift Foundation.

The foundation raises money for families of seriously-ill children, inspired by the story of Eli Healy who passed away in 2012 due to a respiratory disorder.

Lawrence has now raised a more than $30,000 simply by serving coffee and selling art (including his own unique coffee art) out of his bus while travelling from Melbourne to South Australia.

"The response from actually having the bus out on the road has been tremendous, people get to see a vintage bus out on the road with it's original engine running," he said.

Discovery Parks Whyalla Managers Fran and Kelvin Gulliver with Lawrence Norton and his double decker bus.

Discovery Parks Whyalla Managers Fran and Kelvin Gulliver with Lawrence Norton and his double decker bus.

"Most people who come in here donate more than just their $5 for a cup of coffee. I've had people who don't even drink coffee coming in to make a donation and hear my story.

"Tim Adams Specialty Coffee has teamed up with Project Origin Coffee, a green-bean buyer in Australia. They donate the beans to Tim Adams who gets all the beans roasted and sends them out to me for free.

"I take the cost of the milk and cups out of the coffee money and everything else goes to Eli's Gift."

Lawrence has been staying at the Discovery Parks Whyalla caravan park this week, and at the time of the interview was also planning to spend some time serving coffee at the Whyalla Steelworks.

Park Manager Fran Gulliver said it was great to have Lawrence staying with them for his time in Whyalla.

"The guests have loved it, we've had some very good comments about it,' she said.

"The bus itself has caught a lot of people's attention."

Discovery Parks are also hosting an Australia Day barbecue to raise funds for those affected by the bushfire crisis.