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03 Aug 2021
More than 2,630 Stagecoach bus drivers and support staff provided transport for the athletes and media at the London Olympics and Paralympics in 2012.
Some 9 years ago, David Beaton, now Managing Director at Stagecoach Highlands, spent 7 months in London establishing a working depot with twelve separate divisions transporting all the media and officials to and from the events. Once the Olympics had concluded, David stepped up to manage the whole depot throughout the Paralympics.
David, who has now worked for Stagecoach for 23 years said: “We had a fantastic team in London and despite the busy 14-hour days I managed to make some great friends for life. One of the most memorable shift moments was when Eddie Izzard came to visit us in the depot – that wouldn’t happen in the Highlands!”
Stevie Ross who is a familiar face at Inverness Bus Station has worked for Stagecoach for 28 years and was a key member of David’s team in London being there for 12 weeks based in the control box responsible for allocating buses for the following day.
Commenting on the experience Stevie said: “I loved my time working in London and would do it all again in a flash. The best part was the accommodation – I got to stay in the cruise ship berthed next to the bus depot and all our meals and drinks were complimentary. The other guys I knew were really jealous as not everyone got to stay on board the ship!”
Paul Fenner, now Operations Manager for Skye has worked for Stagecoach for 17 years. Paul was based in London for 6 weeks during the Olympics and recalls the pride he felt on his commute to the bus depot.
Paul said: “I commuted by Tube which took about an hour each day ahead of the 12 hour shift. I’d see a few athletes in tracksuits on the Tube too who would get a round of applause as they walked through the station. There was such a buzz about the city and I was quite emotional on the last evening leaving the stadium site seeing it all lit up for the last time.”
Forbes Bell who is based at the Stagecoach Fraserburgh depot has worked for the company for an impressive 33 years and was lucky enough to be based at the Athletes Village for 12 weeks over the Olympics.
Commenting on the experience Forbes said: “I was really proud to be selected to be based in the Athletes Village. I’ll never forget the pride seeing the athletes coming back with their medals following a successful day of competition. I met Jessica Ennis, Tom Daly and Usain Bolt.”
Alex Flanagan, Operations Manager in Inverness and Derek Mitchell, Depot Controller in Peterhead both spent time in London in the Control rooms for the Olympics and Paralympics.
Alex who has now worked for Stagecoach for 15 years, originally joined the company as a Bus Driver in Inverness. Alex said: “Being part of the team in London was one of the best moments of my career, we had such a great time and I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so much in my life! Though I was in control I did have the chance to drive a little bit in London which was pretty daunting but I coped fine.”
Derek Mitchell from Peterhead Said: “I was in London for 9 weeks to cover nightshift in control. I was really glad to have support from the London drivers while I learnt about the network and area – it was so different to what I’ve done in the past! We had a great team in London, I’d love to do something like that again. ”
A total of 33 staff from Stagecoach Highlands supported the operation and 46 from Stagecoach Bluebird. The Olympic Games ran from 27 July to 12 August and the Paralympic Games between 29 August and 9th September 2012.