Friday, 21 March 2014

Bus Painter Bows Out After 40 Years Service

Left to right Mike Smith, depot engineering manager, Ray Yaxley and Steve 
Hanner outside Norwich's Roundtree Way depot. Steve is a supervisor and 
former apprentice who Ray trained. 
A bus painter has hung up his brushes after a career spanning more than 40 years. Ray Yaxley, 72, who works for First Eastern Counties, joined the firm as a coach painter in 1972. His early work saw him based at Cremorne Lane, Norwich, where he painted buses in a traditional poppy-red livery.

Ray, who lives in Blofield with his wife, Jean, has worked in various depots in Norwich and Great Yarmouth. He has kept an album of all the special projects and liveries he has worked on over the years. The most recent project saw him re-paint Routemasters blue, red and green.

He retired when he was 62 but worked for the company part-time for another 10 years. And although he enjoyed work, he made the decision to leave when he was diagnosed with cancer of the bladder in November 2013. Following his diagnosis, he reduced his hours at work before he said a final goodbye on March 20.

Mike Smith, depot engineering manager at First Eastern Counties’ Roundtree Way depot, said: 'Ray has gone above and beyond. Even when we revamped the stores last year he was up on the ladder, cleaning windows and painting. He has seen the company evolve over the years. It has been an absolute pleasure to work with him.'

My thanks to First Eastern Counties for the report and photo

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