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Passengers queue up for trip to funeral of popular bus driver Ian Newby
9:13am Friday 18th October 2013 in News
Bus driver Ian Newby’s former passengers catch the bus to attend his funeral at St John’s Church, Bilsdale
REGULAR passengers on a Ryedale bus service made a deeply poignant journey as the vehicle was used to take them to the funeral of the driver they had adored, writes Emily Flanagan.
The 194 Malton to Hovingham bus was taken out of service to pay fitting tribute to popular bus driver Ian Newby, who died of a heart attack earlier this month.
Mr Newby’s death at his home near Bilsdale, aged 45, had been completely unexpected and left friends and family reeling.
Hundreds of people packed into Bilsdale’s small, remote church on the North York Moors above Helmsley, where his funeral was held yesterday.
Joining the family and friends who had made their way to the church were dozens of his passengers, who were brought to the church in the coach Mr Newby had driven.
Regular passenger Marian Hardy, from Barton-le-Street, said: “He called everyone by their Christian names.
“He built up a rapport with everyone who got on his bus.”
Another 194 bus user, Ann Chapman, from Hovingham, added: “He would stop us outside our houses if we had a lot of luggage, or if it was bad weather. He was brilliant. We will all miss him.”
His former neighbour, Phil Leverington, from Gillamoor, said: “He had a wonderful sense of humour.”
Susan Bowes, from Barton-le-Street, said: “He picked up a lot of schoolchildren on his route. He was very popular with them, he knew them all and all their names and would ask about what they were doing that day.
“He was always happy, never moody. He was just such a genuinely nice person.”
Mr Newby had lived with his partner, Richard Johnson, also a bus driver with Stephensons of Easingwold.
Speaking outside the church, company director, David Stephenson, said: “He built up a rapport with everybody he met. He was such a nice guy.
“With rural bus services, people need to know there’s someone there who knows them, who might notice if they weren’t around or who might help them with their shopping if they can’t manage. Ian was the perfect rural service driver. He was just so well-liked, a great personality, great sense of humour.
“It was such a shock. We would have hoped to have kept him for a long time.
“We’re very, very sorry to have lost Ian and wish he was still here.”
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