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, 88 long-serving employees were acknowledged after accumulating an impressive 2,520 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 Teesside, Hartlepool, Newcastle, Sunderland and South Shields.
61-year-old Clive Fallon, an engineer at the Sunderland depot, has achieved his 45 year milestone and is immensely proud.
The fitter and turner from Southwick said: “I really enjoy my job and it’s a great team I work with. It has certainly been a good 45 years. I never thought I would be here that long but I have had a good living and career out of it. It has helped me bring up my family and bought two houses, a caravan and a nice car, so I’m happy!”
Clive started at the depot in Sunderland as an apprentice motor mechanic, where over 400 applicants were competing for just three places. Now a fitter, he is part of a team responsible for inspecting the fleet of 80 vehicles but does still get his hands dirty. He said: “I still work on the smaller parts like broken bolts in engines but I have done all the types of engineering over the years. I am now the only person left who can use the lathe to manufacture parts we can’t get hold of. As a specialist in the engineering department, I also have apprentices working with me and we do training on the shopfloor that they wouldn’t cover at college, before they move around to work with different people in the team.”
As part of his job during his long career, Clive worked on all the public works vehicles for Sunderland Corporation Transport as it was then, including emergency services, grave diggers etc, before Tyne and Wear Passenger Transport Executive took over in the 70s and changed to buses only.
Recalling his experiences over the years, Clive said: “I also worked on the ferry to South Shields, including the Shieldsman and Freda Cunningham, as well as 20 years volunteering for the RNLI Sunderland Lifeboat Service as coxon. The company were great, and they would just let me go when the pager went off as I only had six minutes to get there.
“Within the depot engineering department, one of the things I have enjoyed most is the variety of roles and the problem solving. The changes in technology have been amazing, for example the gas buses. I now look after gas plant and its two compressors, where normal domestic is gas piped in, compressed and put into out buses.
“Also our apprentices tend to stay once they are qualified and if there is a job vacancy we want to keep hold of them, so people do work here a long time and become part of a great team.”
Fifteen members of staff from the Sunderland depot were honoured at the awards ceremony and boasted a total of 420 years between them. Each employee who received an award attended a Long Service Award presentation ceremony at The Hilton, in Gateshead.
Steve Walker, 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 20 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 2017.”