LOYAL staff members at a bus company have been driving South Tynesiders for a combined 2,555 years.
A total of 85 Stagecoach North East employees from depots in South Shields, Sunderland, Newcastle, Hartlepool, and Teesside were awarded for their long service.
Among the staff are bus drivers, engineers, and management, including Brian Sleightholme, operations manager of the South Shields depot, in Dean Road.
The 63-year-old was recognised for 40 years of service at the company.
He said: “I’m proud of my achievement and believe in this day and age it’s is very hard to achieve 40 years’ service. “It’s a great job and very varied.
“Every day is different, which is why I’ve dedicated four decades of my life to the company, though it’s certainly challenging.
“I feel very secure here, and it’s a very loyal company to work for. I hope that I will have many more years to come working for Stagecoach.”
The awards were presented to the staff at the Hilton Hotel, Gateshead, where the celebrations took place.
Phil Medlicott, managing director of Stagecoach North East, said: “The bus industry is all about people and, at Stagecoach North East, we are fortunate to have a team of dedicated individuals.
“The Long Service Awards are a way of recognising and appreciating the great service they provide and their ongoing loyalty towards the company.
“It’s fantastic to see so many members of staff achieving awards for between 20 and 45 years’ service, it demonstrates real commitment and I thank them all for their hard work over the years.”