We've bid a fond farewell to one of our longest serving drivers with a special send-off involving family, colleagues and a vintage bus.
When Eric Leverton first got behind the wheel of a bus, Neil Armstrong had yet to make his giant leap for mankind and England was celebrating its World Cup win.
Since then Eric has gone on to win our Driver of the Month Award a record nine times during a career spanning nearly half a century.
Now he’s planning to spend more time with his wife Rita, visiting stately homes and going to the theatre after retiring on his 65th birthday.
To mark the occasion, we organised a surprise party at the end of his last shift and rolled out a vintage Leyland Leopard bus to remind him of his early days on the buses.
Eric Leverton pictured here at the end of his last shift with the vintage bus.
“It certainly brought back a few memories,” said Eric who joined Barton Transport in 1974 after eight years as a driver with Midland General.
“Things have changed a bit since then, for a start there was no power steering in those days so driving a bus was much more physically demanding.”
After leaving school and working for a couple of years in a factory producing ‘wood wool’ for use in packaging, a friend suggested Eric apply for a job as a bus driver and he’s never looked back.
“I’ve worked on the buses for almost my entire working life and I’ve loved every minute of it.
“I felt t particularly proud when I collected my first award and over the years trent barton has been a great company to work for,” he said.
“Now I’ll really miss all my colleagues as we’re a tight-knit team and many customers have also become good friends.”
Through his career Awsworth-born Eric has worked on many routes in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire. For the past decade he’s driven a 27 bus, serving communities in and around his home village and Ilkeston, where he now lives.
Commented Jeff Counsell, Managing Director: “Over the years Eric has set an example for colleagues to follow, winning numerous accolades alongside the Driver of the Month awards.
“We’ll certainly miss Eric, but wish him a long and happy retirement.”