Andy Smith, of Tamworth depot, is due to retire on 10 December after an incredible 50 years of service with Arriva Midlands.
Andy, 66, started with Midland Red Lichfield as an apprentice on 28 December 1970 whilst also attending college at Burton-on-Trent. He was later transferred from Lichfield to Tamworth in May 1971, where he completed his apprenticeship in 1974. Andy has had many roles within his career spending most of it as a skilled fitter, later becoming a Foreman (in November 1994) and then moving into his current role as a Charge-Hand. During Andy’s 50 years’ service the company has changed ownership many times starting as Midland Red, becoming British Bus, Drawlane, Cowie and finally Arriva.
Andy has seen huge transformation in buses and technology through the years, keeping pace with this has been one of Andy’s biggest career challenges. Andy said: “Buses were very basic in the 1970s compared with today’s technical advancements. The general approach to providing enough buses for service is far more focused with more accountability for breakdowns, a challenge I, and my colleagues, enjoy.”
Andy continued: “I have many fond memories and some lifelong friends from my time with Arriva and its predecessors. Two of my favourite memories are playing football for The Midland Red Omnibus team, travelling all over the country and playing against other National Bus Company teams. The other happened in the late 70s, when a fire broke out in the canteen kitchen, I was on a break, playing dominos with some drivers. I rushed into the kitchen to attend to the fire, putting it out, in the meantime the game of dominos was able to continue!”
Jack Grove, General Manager of Arriva Staffordshire, said: “It’s fantastic to see such long service and loyalty to the company, and it’s an absolute privilege to be a part of Andy’s career. I would personally like to thank Andy for all of his commitment and hard work, and on behalf of Arriva wish him a long and happy retirement.”