BUS drivers arranged for one of their coaches to follow a funeral procession in memory of a ‘much-loved’ colleague.
Phil Hennessy died suddenly at the age of 45 last month after spending more than a decade working as a driver for Stagecoach in Havant.
As a kind gesture to Phil’s family, staff at the company organised for one of their buses to join the procession after his funeral service on Friday.
The procession – with the bus following behind – travelled from St Joseph’s Church in West Street to Havant Bus Station, where employees held a minute’s silence.
The team at the depot also arranged for some of the buses to display Phil’s name. The procession then carried on to Warblington Cemetery.
Customers and other staff were told what was happening, and many lined up at the entrance of the depot to pay their respects.
Phil’s wife Nicola, 44, said: ‘His death shocked a lot of people. Everyone was upset, it was quite moving.
‘There were so many people there. The tribute that Stagecoach did, we did not want to let that pass without showing our gratitude.
‘Somebody told me Stagecoach had never done something like this before. The company was his second family. Everyone knew him.’
Phil, a former Oaklands Catholic School pupil, previously worked as a taxi driver but joined Stagecoach as a bus driver in 2008.
He died a day before St Patrick’s Day – and as a tribute to the father-of-one – who was born in Ireland – his colleagues wore green t-shirts on their return to work.
They worked with Moores funeral directors in Havant to arrange for the bus to follow the funeral cars.
Colin Ashcroft, operations manager for Stagecoach in Portsmouth, said Phil was a ‘much-loved member of the team’.
‘Whatever was happening in the world, Phil would bring a smile to the depot. He always had time to chat with fellow members of staff that he considered to be his second family.
‘As an employee Phil was hard working, loyal and always prepared to help.’