Busman retires after 40 years at the wheel

Tony Debney's wife summed it all up when she told him he had been married to his bus company almost as long as her.But now Christina Debney is looking forward to her husband's undivided attention following his retirement after nearly 40 years on the buses in Lowestoft.

Tony Debney's wife summed it all up when she told him he had been married to his bus company almost as long as her.

But now Christina Debney is looking forward to her husband's undivided attention following his retirement after nearly 40 years on the buses in Lowestoft.

However, Mrs Debney may not have it all her own way as her dedicated husband has been retained as a casual driver to step in and help keep services running.

Mr Debney, 65, retired as operations manager for First Eastern Counties after a career spanning four decades, in which he started as a conductor on the old-style open-backed buses.

Office jobs followed before he was promoted to operations foreman in the late 1980s and then manager for the Lowestoft depot in 1999.

But despite his elevated status, Mr Debney kept in touch with the public by standing in as an emergency driver - even running the Yarmouth to Peterborough service just before Christmas.

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'I started as a conductor and I've done everything else since,' said Mr Debney, who lives in Lowestoft. 'It has been lovely and the time has flown by. I'd be lying if I said I had enjoyed every minute, but I have enjoyed every day.

'We've just celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary and my wife said 'you've been married to me for 40 years and to Eastern Counties for 38'.'

Mr Debney could not even drive a car until the late 1980s, but then decided to go the whole hog and qualify as a bus driver.

'I didn't learn to drive until 1988 because I was quite happy on my bicycle,' added Mr Debney.

Mr Debney, who has two sons and a granddaughter, said the biggest change he experienced was the deregulation of the buses in the early 1980s while one of the main challenges was to keep vehicles moving through Lowestoft's busy streets.

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