Its been a fare old career Bill 83 retires as a StokeonTrent

first_imgDad slams ‘disgusting’ hospital window Get the biggest Daily stories by emailSubscribeSee our privacy noticeThank you for subscribingSee our privacy noticeCould not subscribe, try again laterInvalid EmailA bus driver believed to be the oldest in Britain has taken his final fare – at the age of 83. Bill Whittaker, from Birches Head, has been forced to step down from his role with D&G Buses due to illness after working as a driver for 45 years. Prior to that he had worked up to 56 hours a week over six days in a job he loved and felt was more of a ‘hobby’. Now colleagues and members of Bill’s family have recognised his hard work at a special retirement presentation at the D&G bus depot on Mossfield Road in Adderley Green. He was presented with an engraved gold Rotary watch, a thank you card signed by all those who worked with him and cash from a collection. Bill Whittaker with a bus from the Potteries Omnibus Preservation Society Bill said: “I feel fine and would have carried on driving if it wasn’t for my illness. “I will miss all of my colleagues and bus passengers. They were always pleased to get on my bus and I had passengers who told me they’d rather ride with me than with anyone else. “I loved my job, it was my hobby and I got paid for enjoying myself.” Read MoreGirl branded ‘hungry hippo’ with ‘more rolls than Greggs’ by spiteful lad on Tinder – because she rejected him   Bill was originally an Army recovery specialist and first found his love of driving when he passed his test in 1957 – in a three tonne Army truck. He travelled across Asia with the Army, spending time in Borneo and Malaysia. Bill even taught the Gurkhas how to drive. The grandad-of-nine and great-grandad-of-two then moved on to the buses – beginning his career with Jones Coachways. Bill Whittaker, 81, received a farewell card from his colleagues at D&G. In 2002, Bill moved to Wardle which was managed by Keith Stanton, who now owns the bus company, Stantons of Stoke. Bill continued to work there through management changes to Arriva which is now owned by D&G. The dad-of-three has survived three operations to remove cancer from his bottom lip in 2000, his neck in 2001 and his nose in 2016. Read MoreThese are the 200 secret words kids are using online which parents need to know about   It is thought Bill could be the oldest bus driver in Britain after a 76-year-old previously came forward to claim the mark. D&G assistant manager Lee Bowditch said the company will miss Bill greatly. Lee from Chell said: “He’s one of those drivers who knew all the routes. “Bill is one of the best drivers we’ve had and that’s why we wanted to do all of this. He is one of the good ones and full of stories.” Colleague Steve Mellor, from Stoke, added: “I see him as a dad. Bill is such a kind-hearted fella and always goes the extra mile. “I see him as one of the family and I’m going to miss him so much. “He’s going to be really sadly missed by everyone here.” Read MoreTop stories on StokeonTrentLive Driver named following fatal collisioncenter_img Police search for missing woman Punter found hiding in bushes Want to tell us about something going on where you live? Let us know – Tweet us    @SOTLive    or message us on    our Facebook page  . And if you have pictures to share, tag us on Instagram at    StokeonTrentLive  .last_img

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