BUS DRIVER REACHES FINAL STOP AFTER 37 YEARS

Fred Elms has retired as a St Mary's bus driver after 37 years.

Fred, 69, covered the last day of the Community Bus yesterday, completing his final circuit of the island's narrow lanes at 6pm.

He began driving buses on St Mary's in 1978 after a brief spell with Roy Duncan on the Golden Spray tripper boat. He worked for Woodcocks buses driving the minibus to and from the airport, as well as the regular service around the island.

Fred started tours about 30 years ago, working for Bruce Maple on Vic's Tours for a couple of years after Ron Perry retired, then setting up on his own.

"Something went wrong with that and then about eight years ago I started working for Glynne Lucas on the Island Rover tours on the old vintage bus Katie," he said.

"It was a funny old thing to drive, but I used to like it. Unfortunately we stopped using it about the time they finished putting the new roads in. When the roads were good she was actually quite easy to drive around."

Bus drivers on Scilly operated without a PSV licence until 1997, not realising that it was a legal requirement to have one. 

Fred said: "I've got a licence that means I can drive anywhere in the world where they've got a bus. Except I don't want to. I only want to drive around the Isles of Scilly."

He added: "I'll never drive a bus again. Next year I won't be renewing my license. I'm 70 in November and don't want to go through the medical again and insurance will be harder.

"So that's it. All over. It's a bit odd but I've had my lot really."

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