STAGECOACH bus company workers are celebrating a total of 811 years of loyal service between them.

Thirty local employees with careers spanning decades were rewarded.

Their hard work and dedication was recognised at a formal long service awards ceremony at the Low Wood Bay Hotel in Windermere.

Managing director Rob Jones presented them with their awards at the event on Saturday March 6 in front of colleagues.

Rob said: “I’d like to thank each and every one of our longstanding members of staff for their dedication to the job, from keeping the wheels turning to getting our passengers safely to their destinations each and every day.

“We are extremely fortunate to be able to count on so many years of industry experience across our company and take great pride in recognising and rewarding their long service.”

They include bus drivers, instructors and trainers who have been working for Stagecoach Cumbria and North Lancashire for between 20 years and 45 years.

Eric, a bus driver based at the Kendal depot, received his award for 30 years’ service.

His routes are among some of Cumbria’s most challenging.

Eric, who lives near Grange over Sands, said: “I didn’t actually envisage still being here after 30 years!

“I always said that the first day I got fed up would be the first day I would leave – and 30 years on I’m still here.

“Some days I go to Keswick with the double decker, or Coniston and Dungeon Ghyll with the narrow lanes and tight corners.

“I go over Kirkstone Pass which is good on a nice sunny day and sometimes if there is a short stop at the top, I can let the passengers take some pictures.

“I like the challenges and the people I meet and the fact it is a responsible job – it is a big responsibility keeping your passengers safe.”

Kendal’s depot inspector Dave Brodie received his award for 20 years. Dave, who lives in Kendal, gained his bus driver’s licence two weeks after his 21st birthday and went on to drive in Hertfordshire and in Europe, and then joined Stagecoach where he now helps make sure the depot runs smoothly.

Dave said: “I’m the baby!”

“I love the job because of the fantastic bunch of people at this depot..

“We are more like a family. It’s not like other places I have worked before. There is a great camaraderie. I think that is one of the best points about the Kendal Stagecoach depot.”