Stephen marks 40 years on Suffolk’s school buses
When Stephen Cross started driving Suffolk school children to school it was in a Ford Transit minibus with wooden slatted benches up each side.
Stephen, 62, last week marked 40 years of driving for Suffolk County Council whose school transport service became Suffolk Norse five years ago.
Stephen, from Bury St Edmunds, began his driving career in April 1976 and recalls that he would drive children to and from school in Sudbury and during the day would deliver meals from a kitchen in Lavenham to village schools.
He then got his public service vehicle licence and moved to big buses. As well as school runs, on two days a week he drove a passenger service between Brettenden and Hadleigh and Stowmarket.
“I loved doing that,” he said. “I got to know all my passengers and used to enjoy looking after them. They were mostly elderley.”
Colleague Nick Fairs said: “I have heard stories of him carrying passengers’ shopping to their door, a service that could not be surpassed by anyone and is probably not even possible today.”
Stephen, the longest serving driver at Suffolk Norse’s Rougham depot, says he has enjoyed everything about his job. He added: “Suffolk Norse is a really good company and my colleagues at Rougham depot are fantastic people.”
As well as inviting him to a long service event in Norwich, where they presented him with a 40-year certificate, managers gave him a hamper and a framed photo-collage of all the types of buses he has driven. His colleagues gave him gardening gift vouchers.