Bus drivers across Weymouth and Portland are set to pay tribute to a much-loved friend and colleague who died in a crash.
At 4.50pm on Tuesday, First Bus drivers will pull over and observe a one minute silence in memory of James Spelman, who died in the incident on Portland last week.
The time and day mark exactly a week since the crash – involving a First single decker Service 1 driven by Mr Spelman, a white Citroen Relay Luton van and a blue Alfa Romeo - happened on New Road.
It was the day before Mr Spelman’s 60th birthday. Drivers from across the country have also volunteered to cover the shifts of local drivers so they can attend Mr Spelman’s funeral.
Friend of more than 20 years Tony Grange, who also worked alongside Mr Spelman for more than three years, said that all the First drivers wanted to do something to remember a great friend and colleague.
He said: “At 4.50pm on Tuesday all drivers will pull over, where it safe to do so, for a minute silence in memory of James. All of the drivers are up for it. They want to pay their respects.
“He was a good friend of mine and he was so well-liked it’s untrue. “He was a lovely bloke; the life and soul of the party. He was just a lovely guy.”
Mr Grange says the support shown by other First drivers has been phenomenal.
“Drivers from across the country have offered to come down and drive our buses on the day of James’ funeral so that we can go,” said Mr Grange.
“It just shows how much of a terrific guy he was.” Mr Spelman, known to many as ‘Scouse’, has been described as “wellloved” by many and scores of heartfelt tributes have since been paid to the popular bus driver on social media.
A JustGiving page set up to help cover the cost of Mr Spelman’s funeral and ‘celebrate the life and passing of James Spelman’ has raised more than £2,000 in under a week. Local businesses have also been raising funds to cover costs.
Last week, Marc Reddy, managing director of First Wessex, said: “Everyone at First Wessex is hugely shocked and saddened by this tragic incident and our thoughts are with the driver’s family and friends.