Moving tribute to ‘bus warrior’

Martin Powell
Martin Powell

A popular bus driver and inspector has been given a poignant tribute after a Welsh transport company named its new vehicle after him.

Martin Powell, who lived in Billinge, was given the honour by Arriva Buses North Wales who bestowed the name Martin Powell 1958-2014 A Peaceful Warrior on the latest addition to its fleet.

The family of Martin Powell, including mother-in-law Anne Cotton who still lives in Billinge, with the bus named in his honour in North Wales

The family of Martin Powell, including mother-in-law Anne Cotton who still lives in Billinge, with the bus named in his honour in North Wales

Martin spent much of his working life in Greater Manchester before moving to North Wales in 2005 but suddenly died aged just 55 after a short battle with lymphoma.

He has now been recognised by Arriva with the new bus, which takes its Peaceful Warrior name both from a description of Martin’s character and the title of the last book he read before his death.

His family were joined by friends and colleagues for the naming ceremony in Bangor, with mother-in-law Anne Cotton travelling from her home in Billinge to attend the event.

His widow Beth spoke of her pride at the company’s tribute to him.

Beth, 55, said: “I feel really proud and it is very special, just amazing. The bus passes the end of the road where we live and it’s on the route between Llandudno and Caernarfon which was one of Martin’s favourite drives.”

Martin started work as a teenager with Great Manchester Transport (GMT) as a conductor, becoming a driver just 12 months later.

He became an inspector aged 24 and was given responsibility for managing buses and drivers in Wigan and Bolton.

Having lived in Billinge and Wigan he moved to North Wales with his wife and children Michael and Katie in 2005 and once again became a bus driver for Arriva, based at its Llandudno Junction depot.

He was known to do quizzes with passengers on longer routes and often engaged those travelling on the bus in lively discussion.

He was also interested in astronomy and during night journeys in North Wales would discuss the names of stars and planets visible in the sky.

His most memorable journey also occurred during his time in Wales when a group of 15 teenagers boarded his rail replacement bus from Bangor to Holyhead.

Initially his heart sunk but after a few minutes of chatting one of the young passengers started singing in Welsh, with the rest joining in within a minute. Martin often spoke of driving through the pitch-black night across Anglesey listening to their songs.

Beth also paid a heartfelt personal tribute to him as a family man away from his work.

She said: “Martin is missed deeply. He was such a loving, kind, gentle and caring man who loved life, possessing a deep love for his family and friends.

“He is missed for his philosophical debate and eccentricity, with special memories of him walking his dogs and riding his many bikes, motorbike and recumbent bicycle through Billinge and latterly around Conwy and Llandudno.”