Restaurant staff will work for free and donate a day’s takings to help cover the funeral costs of a much-loved bus driver who died in a crash.

First Wessex driver James Patrick Spelman died in a crash on Portland on Tuesday. A fundraising campaign has been launched via JustGiving to ‘celebrate his life and passing’ and ‘give him the send off he deserves’.

By yesterday afternoon, it had raised almost half of its £3,000 target. It is set to be given a boost after the gesture from staff at Shelley’s at The Dining Room restaurant in St Mary Street, Weymouth.

Chef John Mcinally, 33, says the community “really comes together in times like this”.

He and his colleagues are hoping to make “a big dent” in the £3,000 fundraising target by donating any takings they receive on Sunday to the cause, along with the cost of their wages for the day.

Mr Mcinally said he did not know Mr Spelman personally, but says the news of his death “really hit home.”

“A few of my friends knew the gentleman,” he said. “I saw the JustGiving page and thought it would be nice to help and make things a little bit easier on the family. “

Mr Mcinally added: “It’s hit home for a lot of people and I think when something like this happens the community really comes together.

“I know that this man was a dad, husband and friend. I believe it was his birthday the day after. From what I have heard he was a well-respected man.

“A day’s takings won’t hurt us but it will go a long way to help the family out. Every little helps.”

Carol Sim, operations and staff manager at First Wessex, said: “James Spelman, known to everyone as Scouse, was a very popular colleague and will be sadly missed.

“The Weymouth depot will not be the same without him. He will be missed greatly by all his colleagues and friends.”

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