A family have told of their pride after a driver who died from Covid-19 was honoured by Xplore Dundee – by having a bus named after him.
The firm has named seven of its new Electric Emerald vehicles after staff members who have died over the past two years.
A special ceremony was held at the weekend.
Among those to have their name displayed across the front of a bus is Kenneth Ballie – known as Kenny – who served as a driver for Xplore Dundee for two years before his death from coronavirus in November.
His sister Nicki Joiner, mum Doreen Mason, 73, and daughter Terri Ramsay, 22, were there to see the vehicle named in his honour being unveiled.
Followed in footsteps of dad and grandad
Nicki, 49, told The Courier: “He was well-known – he was one of the good guys.
“At his funeral there was an amazing turnout for him. He was just 51.
“He was born and brought up in Dundee. My grandad and my dad both worked on the buses – my grandad actually started on the trams years and years ago.
“It was something Kenny always wanted to do. He tried to get in a few times but he had club feet so he never got in the first couple of times he tried.
“But he was able to get on the Xplore buses. He finally got on just before Covid hit.”
Kenny was said to be delighted to have secured a job with Xplore, after previously working in the motor trade.
Mum Doreen said: “From the moment he started with his training, that was all we heard.
“He was just taken by it all.”
Daughter Terri said: “He was so chuffed to wear the uniform.
“He was really proud and always taking pictures with the buses.”
Nicki added: “He absolutely loved his job on the buses.
“But he got Covid there in October, and he passed away on November 11.
“He went into hospital on the Monday and died 10 days later.
“It was a shock. He obviously died doing the job that he really loved, but he never got the chance to enjoy it.
We thought it might be something smaller on the side (of the bus) but it looks fantastic.”
“Kenneth deserves a wee tribute for him. He always did everything for us, he was our rock.”
Xplore has also paid tribute to Colin Bennett, William Cassidy, Yvonne Elder, Mark Jones, Andrew McLaren and Ghulam Rasool through its new fleet.
The company says it “looks forward to sharing their buses and their stories in the coming days and weeks”.
💚 Yesterday, we had the special privilege of meeting with the families of colleagues who have passed away over the past two years. To pay our respects, we're naming seven of our Electric Emeralds in their honour. pic.twitter.com/lFFt4CMDbM
— Xplore Dundee (@XploreDundee) April 17, 2022
Upon seeing her son’s bus, Doreen said: “I wasn’t expecting it to be so big – we thought it might be something smaller on the side (of the bus) but it looks fantastic.”
Nicki said: “We always used to go up to Kenmore.
“He never got anything, really, for his 50th because of Covid, so he said he would organise a big party up at Kenmore and get everyone up there to make up for it.
“Me and Terri have done that for him in May.”