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23 Oct 2019
Local bus operator Stagecoach North East has recognised employees that have demonstrated loyalty and dedication to the company in its annual long service awards, and driving duo Mohammed Aslam and John Bacon from Teesside are celebrating 85 years of service between them.
This year, 79 long-serving staff were acknowledged after accumulating an impressive 2,370 years of combined service, 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 Newcastle Gateshead hotel.
Amongst the employees recognised were bus drivers, engineers, administration and management staff based at Stagecoach North East’s depots across Teesside, Hartlepool, Newcastle, Sunderland and South Shields.
68-year-old John, a bus driver at the Teesside depot in Stockton, has achieved his 45 year milestone after joining the bus company in 1974.
John, who lives in Middlesbrough with his family, started out working in a toy factory and then a garage before switching to a career in driving to work on the buses at Cleveland Transit, as it was then.
The Middlesbrough-born driver, who now works on a variety of shifts and routes across Middlesbrough, Stockton and Billingham, said: “We have got a great team here at Stockton and the last 45 years have flown by. My wife and I had a great night at the awards and I'm proud to be recognised for my years of service."
Retirement does not seem to be at the forefront on his mind, as he added: "I still enjoy driving at the moment, but I might change my mind if we have a bad winter! I'm sure at some point I'll have a change of heart and will want to spend more time at home with the wife and grandchildren."
Fellow driver Mohammed Aslam from Stockton-on-Tees is extremely proud to be celebrating 40 years of service.
After working in London for five years and a short stint working on United buses in Middlesbrough, Mohammed joined Cleveland Transit in 1979.
The 63-year-old started off as a conductor as part of a duel crew, a role he carried out for five years before a one-person operation was introduced on the buses. He then got his license to become a driver, and has been operating buses across Middlesbrough and Stockton ever since.
When asked about his future plans, Mohammed said: "I'll probably wait until I'm 66 before retiring. Once I do, I'm looking forward to spending a year on holiday with my wife in Pakistan and visiting family."
Eleven members of staff from the Stockton depot were honoured at the awards ceremony and boasted a total of 345 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 45 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 2019.”