50 years behind the wheel for bus driver

BUS driver Joe Cook, 69, celebrated half a century in the driving seat on Friday.Mr Cook was born in Gresham and has stayed in Norfolk throughout his life.

BUS driver Joe Cook, 69, celebrated half a century in the driving seat on Friday.

Mr Cook was born in Gresham and has stayed in Norfolk throughout his life. He settled in Cromer and now lives with his wife Pamela, 51, and their 12-year-old daughter Judy.

He began training as a conductor for Eastern Counties on June 26, 1959, when he was 19, and started work three days later.

'I had a day's training at the old bus station in Surrey Street. Then I went out on the road with a driver for a day, there was another day training and then you were thrown in at the deep end.'


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Mr Cook was trained as a bus driver five years later, when lone working became common and there was a demand for people who could both drive and conduct.

In 1982 he left Eastern Counties for pastures new, but was persuaded to do some relief work for Sanders Coaches three years later.

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'I joined in 1986 and I was only meant to be there for a fortnight, but I haven't left yet.

'I enjoy driving and looking at the countryside, especially first thing in the morning. You see things in the morning that you don't see during the day - owls, hares, rabbits, all these different big birds of prey. I think I'm lucky - I

see a lot of things that

people pay pounds to come to the coast for.

'I like meeting people. Young people, you get to know them and then they disappear for a few years while they're at school, then they come back and they have families. There are people who holiday here every year who know me.

'It's been an enjoyable time. When you look back you think 50 years is a long time, but the days just go along very quickly.'

And Mr Cook plans to carry on driving for a few years yet. 'I can't just suddenly stop because I wouldn't know what to do with my time. There's only so many odd jobs you can do.

'I have to have a medical every year, and as long as I'm fit and healthy and the boss will have me here I will carry on.'

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