To the people he picked up in his blue bus in Worthing and Adur, Brian Ingham was more than a driver – he was a friend and a lifeline.
Now, that same bus has been named after him as a tribute from his Dial A Ride colleagues after he died.
His widow Debbie Stewart, from Steyning, said: “It has been a very difficult time and I just thought it was absolutely wonderful.
“He was very quiet and didn’t think he made a lot of difference to people, but that gesture is enormous.”
The Burnley native worked in the prison service and as a drug dog handler before retiring in his fifties, when he first joined the charity, a transport service for the elderly and vulnerable.
Five years ago, he got involved with the Worthing and Adur branch when he moved to the area. His regular clients across the area included members of the Adur Stroke Club and the Elderberry Group, a Shoreham-based club for the disabled.
After he died aged 72 on August 7 following a stroke, Dial A Ride manager Gary Mills helped arrange for Brian’s bus to be renamed in his memory. A-Z Signs in South Farm Road, Worthing, put the sign with his name on the bus free of charge.
Gary said: “The amount of love and respect we had for the fella was phenomenal.
“Everybody here, the drivers, the office staff and the customers, thought so highly of him. He was always smiling, always laughing. He was a very happy person who was happy to help anyone.”
Such was the impression he made on people that members of the stroke club were driven to his funeral on August 22 at Worthing Crematorium in the newly-decorated bus to pay their respects.
Debbie said it was ‘a really sweet gesture’ and his family ‘were all moved by it’.
Brian is survived by Debbie, three daughters and a granddaughter.