A VAN driving volunteer who has clocked up 17 years at the wheel is now taking a back seat.

John Power, 69, has enjoyed every minute of his time with Inverclyde Voluntary Council of Social Services (IVCSS).

He has worked five days a week taking pupils to Lilybank and latterly Craigmarloch schools but is now stepping aside.
John, inset, said: “It’s been brilliant.

“I’ve really enjoyed working with the kids.

“There was one wee girl in particular who used to come onto the bus and I was told if there was a different driver she would say, ‘I want John!’

“I’ve enjoyed the banter with the kids and with the drivers.

“I’ve made a lot of good friends."

John lives in West Woodside Avenue in Port Glasgow with his wife Isabel, who is a classroom assistant.

They have a daughter, Gillian, and an 11-year-old granddaughter called Olivia.

John is a former shipyard worker and decided to volunteer to drive after being made redundant from IBM.

He said: “I’d bought a video camera and started filming weddings but then everyone seemed to have cameras and the same idea.”

John admits he has mixed feelings about retiring, something which was prompted by his forthcoming 70th birthday.

He said: “It’s been very rewarding. I am missing the kids already.”

John plans to do some gardening with his retirement and will also use his free time to convert video footage of his family onto DVD.

Voluntary Council transport convener Callum Boyd and chairman David Terrey have praised John for his dedication over the years.

Callum said: “We could not survive without the drivers and escorts. John has put in a fantastic effort five days a week for 17 years and we’ll miss him.

“People like John are very hard to find and even harder to replace.”

If anyone has a few hours to spare to volunteer with the service they should call 791939.