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02 Jun 2015
Local bus operator Stagecoach North East has recognised employees that have demonstrated loyalty and dedication to the company in its annual long service awards.
This year, 86 long-serving staff were acknowledged after accumulating an impressive 2,475 years of service between them, and each one was recognised for their prolonged hard work and commitment over the years at a celebration dinner and awards ceremony at The Hilton Hotel, Gateshead.
Amongst the employees are bus drivers, engineers, administration and management staff based at Stagecoach North East’s depots across Newcastle, Sunderland, South Shields, Hartlepool and Teesside.
Of those honoured, Joe McBeth, a driver from the Slatyford depot in Newcastle, had the highest record with 50 years’ service. Joe said: “Being a bus driver is one of those jobs that gets into your blood. The people I have met over the years have made it a very interesting career and despite my age I have no plans to retire, although I have cut down to three days a week!”
David Maxwell, a 63-year old driver from the Walkergate depot, was recognised for 45 years service with Stagecoach North East, and has enjoyed his time on the buses, joining when he was just 18.
The long serving driver from West Moor in Newcastle, said: “I have met a lot of interesting people over the years as part of this job, and have loved working outside. I don’t think I could have ever worked indoors, especially when it is nice weather like it is at the moment! ”
64-year-old Ken Potts, City Sightseeing Manager based at the Slatyford depot, was recognised for an impressive 40 years’ service. Ken is also CCTV Manager and Radio Manager but it is his role in city sightseeing he loves the most.
Ken, from Newcastle, said: “Although I enjoy every aspect of the jobs I do, my favourite is the City Sightseeing, as you meet people from all over the world and there is always a great atmosphere on the tours. But there is always something new happening each day, so with the three roles, every day is different.
Buses run the blood, as both Ken’s father and father-in-law worked for in the bus industry for the original company. Over the 40 years, Ken has worked in many differing roles, including Crew Driver, Control Inspector, Assistant Traffic Superintendent, Operations Manager, Quality Control Manager and Service Regulator.
He added: “It feels very strange to reach this milestone as I only took the original job as a temporary post 41 years ago. I am scheduled to retire in four weeks, and although I am looking forward to having more leisure time I will miss all the many wonderful people I have worked with.”
Ernie Rutherford from Westoe in South Shields, a 63-year-old bus driver at the South Shields depot, has been recognised for 40 years service. Now gearing up for retirement, Ernie, whose brother also worked in the industry as a chief inspector for Busways, said: “Over my 40 years driving, there has never been two days the same! The role is all about meeting people and that is what I have loved, as well as also being out and about on the roads. I am delighted to reach 40 years and I never thought I would get that far. Thank you to Stagecoach for a lovely evening and for the opportunity of such a long time in employment.”
54-year-old Cath Lowrie from Acklam in Middlesbrough, a supervisor and office cleaner for the Stockton depot, has been recognised for an impressive 35 years service.
She said: “This role is all about people and I love working alongside the different people in the depot, which is why I have been here so long, as I love it. The company has been great to work for, and very flexible when I needed to go part-time for personal reasons ”
Cath started working in the old Middlesbrough depot at Cleveland Transit in the canteen, before moving the Stockton depot, where she was responsible for cleaning the buses and the garages. “I used to work nights in the engineering section, which got pretty cold, so when the opportunity came to move to office cleaning, I took it!”
Working on the buses runs in the family, as Cath’s mum, sister, auntie and uncle all worked at the depot in Middlesbrough. Speaking about the awards, Kath added: “I nearly didn’t make the celebration dinner, as my dog was poorly, but luckily my mum was able to babysit and I had a great night with colleagues from all the depots and meet some old bosses.”
54-year-old bus driver Liz Price from Norton has also been recognised for an impressive 35 years service.
She said: “I met my husband 30 years ago when he worked as a driver for Stagecoach, so it has definitely changed my life working here! I really enjoy meeting the passengers and driving around in the summer when the sun is out, that is what makes the job.”
Buses are also in Liz’s blood, as her mum was a bus driver before her, but she didn’t start off in the role. “I began working here in the canteen but was offered a role as a driver and never looked back. I didn’t think back in 1980 that I would be celebrating 35 years with the company, as I wasn’t really looking too far into the future but here we are. It was a great night at the awards dinner and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The recognition was much appreciated.”
Phil Medlicott, Managing Director, Stagecoach North East, commented: “The long service awards provide us with an opportunity to celebrate our loyal and committed members of staff. This is an impressive number of people reaching milestones from 25 to 50 years and we are proud that they have helped us to shape and develop the company during this time.
“That so many people choose to work for us for such long periods - in some cases their entire working life – is testament to the strong and supportive team at Stagecoach North East. I would like to extend my thanks to all our employees and especially those who have achieved such impressive service records in 2015.”
For further information about Stagecoach North East please visit our About us page.
In the picture: Gary Nolan (far left), Stagecoach Regional Director (North) and Phil Medlicott (far right), Managing Director for Stagecoach North East, with the 2015 Long Service Awards winners from Stagecoach North East.