Screen Shot 2015-06-08 at 09.58.14A bus worker, who is the third generation of his family to work for Go North East, has beaten his father’s and grandfather’s long service records by working for a staggering 50 years.

David Cheetham, 66, who was a fitter at the firm’s Chester le Street depot, has just been honoured for his half-a-century commitment to the company – narrowly outdoing his father Bill’s 49-year career. David’s grandfather, Sam, also gave Go North East 46 years’ of his life. And David’s wife, Gail, worked at the firm for ten years too.

David and his former colleague, Stuart Irwin, from Forest Hall, both picked-up rare 50-year long service awards at the company’s annual Long Service Awards celebration.

Both men joined Go North East, which is the region’s third largest employer, in 1964 as apprentices and both met their wives at work.

On his award, David from Whickham, said: “I’m really proud of my achievement, not many people make the half century. My dad said I’d never beat his 49 years but I did! He was a foreman and died in 2007. I hope he’s looking down on me and is pleased.”

A glitzy celebration at the Hilton hotel in Gateshead took place to honour all the long serving employees of Go North East.

Sixty-two employees received awards for 25, 30, 35 and 40, 45 and 50 years’ service. They collected their honours from managing director Kevin Carr and were announced on to the stage by comedian and DJ, Alfie Joey.

Six employees – Colin Douglas, Joyce Dunn, Nick Pearson, Jeff Gibbs, Jim Walker, Gordon Marley – collected gongs for 45 years’ service.

The award winners were given gifts and enjoyed drinks, music, a three course dinner and dancing. Many of the award winners brought along their partners to help them celebrate.

Kevin Carr, managing director, said: “The Long Service Awards event is always an evening brimming with pride and some of that pride is mine because I’m honoured to head a firm that has such a loyal workforce. It’s quite an exceptional thing these days for employees to stay with their employer for such long periods of time and as a company we are very thankful that they do.”

Go North East started 100 years ago with a small number of buses and is now the largest bus operator in the north east, with a fleet of 660 buses and 2,100 staff. It carries over 71 million people every year and covers Tyne & Wear, County Durham, Northumberland and Teesside.

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