A job ‘to tide him over’ turned into a lifelong career for one bus driver, with 25 years of service celebrated.

John Mitchell was one of 36 Stagecoach Cumbria and North Lancashire employees honoured in a special ceremony last Friday (March 22) at Low Wood Bay Resort and Spa in Windermere.

John, from Haverthwaite, began his career as a driver in Kendal, subsequently working in Grange-over-Sands for five years, before returning to Kendal to work on the open top buses.

For the past decade or so he has worked as a depot inspector, joining 29 other employees being recognised for their long service – with 985 years between them.

John said: "I wanted to be a driver, but when I came to Stagecoach my plan was to only be here for a couple of years and then go driving coaches.

“I discovered I really liked driving buses - when you’re driving the bus you’re the man, the driver.”

John explained that the favourite part of his career was working on the open top service, especially when it came to interacting with tourists.

"Before I became a bus driver, I used to work up in the Lakes doing deliveries for hospitality and knew all the hotels and places.

“On the open tops I was getting asked a lot of questions from tourists and that didn’t really bother me - I knew the answers.”

Despite marking a quarter of a century with the company, John has no plans to retire anytime soon.

“I loved the view from the office window (my bus) too - when it’s a cold, frosty morning and the lakes are like glass, it’s spectacular.

"And I still do a bit of driving when they’re short - I'm here for the long-term."

Tom Waterhouse, Managing Director of Stagecoach Cumbria and North Lancashire, congratulated John on the long service award.

He added: "It’s amazing to see just how much experience we have at Stagecoach.

"I’d like to extend my personal thanks to all 36 amazing members of staff for all their hard work and dedication to both the company and to our customers over the years."