As the Divine Comedy’s “National Express” played, family and friends gathered to celebrate the life of retired Dundee coach driver Ricky Stevenson,72.
A past chairman of a Tayside support group for fibromyalgia sufferers, Ricky was an adopted Dundonian.
Richard Barr Stevenson, known as Ricky, was born on October 27 1950 to taxi driver Alec and his wife Jane Stevenson. Along with his sister Isobel, the family lived in Broomage, Larbert.
Preferring adventures outside to the confines of a classroom, Ricky was never someone who loved school.
By the time he was in secondary education he worked on milk floats. “Street wise and hardy” his early years weren’t something he talked about. One notable highlight was the birth of his daughter Connie in 1971, around which time Ricky worked as a bus driver in Falkirk.
As his career developed he began driving coaches around the UK and Europe, and was even in Germany for the Berlin wall coming down.
However, it was a bus trip to Austria that would change the trajectory of his life.
It was there – working as a continental coach driver – that Ricky met “wee Mary fae Dundee” who was visiting Salzburg. An offer of an umbrella for his passenger led to drinks that evening.
The pair eventually met up back home in Scotland where Mary Gorman introduced Ricky to her son Wayne. She and Ricky married in 1993. They settled in the Mid Craigie area of Dundee.
‘White socks and black trousers’
Wayne Gorman said: “My first memory of Ricky is when I was nearly 19. I had driven four hours from my RAF base on annual leave, walked in and there he was.
“I can’t remember if he was wearing his trademark white socks and black trousers but there he was chilling in the living room. Pointing to his beer I said, ‘Where’s mine then?’ This was the start of our beautiful friendship and more.
“I saw at this time there had been a massive change in mum, for the first time in my life, I saw her happy. They were great together, and loved each other deeply, which was obvious to anyone around. They were a rock for one another for the 33 years they shared.”
Sundays – when Ricky was healthy – were spent visiting car boot sales, and the couple loved their nights out to the Michelin Athletic Club.
However, Ricky battled a number of health issues over the years. Due to this he had to medically retire from work early. For someone who worked and played hard, not going to work was a big adjustment. A number of surgeries also took their toll, affecting his mobility and his ability to drive.
Despite his own personal challenges Ricky also was also a past chairman of TAP FM – a Tayside support group for people suffering from fibromyalgia. He held this role for 15 years, providing as much support as he could, limited only by his own disabilities.
Wayne added: “Mum was Ricky’s carer for an extended period near the end. Over the last four years he was really struggling with his health.”
Selfless in her care of her husband, Ricky and Mary shared a “special bond”.
Connie’s memories of her dad dropping her off at school in a double deck coach still bring a smile to her face.
Wayne added: “Although a few years were missed along the way Connie and dad had a very loving relationship and he was always there when needed, showing the love and kindness we all felt. Connie also inherited a Dundonian brother and step-mum.”
Ricky was also a proud grandad to Connor, Rhoan, Blair and Finlay.
He died peacefully on February 20 with Mary and his daughter Connie beside him, having seen the rest of his family.
A celebration of Ricky’s life took place at Dundee Crematorium on Friday, March 10.