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'YOUR MEMORIES'
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Due to a recent computer crash several sections/pages of this website have been affected by malfunctions to text and photographs. Every effort is being carried out to try and rectify this situation and repair the damage! Pages 5 to 10 in Your Memories were worst affected but hopefully they will be retrieved and appear again soon.


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A lot of people have visited the Yelloway Museum over the past few years and many have looked through the library files and commented on the wonderful poem that former Yelloway driver Terry O'Mara wrote especially for the second Yelloway employees re-union which took place way back on the 21st March 1992. The re-union, which was held in the Pennine Suite at Oldham Mumps bus depot, was attended by 140 former employees, among them Mr. Hubert Allen the former managing director of the company. The Yelloway Harrington Cavalier coach YDK590 was borrowed for the day from the Greater Manchester Museum of Transport.

With this being the 'Your Memories' section of the web site I don't think there could be a better way of 'starting the ball rolling'.


A few of 'The Old Firm' admiring YDK590 during the re-union were;
(left to right) Terry O'Mara, The late Arthur Jones,
 Derek Ryan, Anthony White, Roy Mills, and Steve Bolton.

 

'WEIR STREET REVISITED'
by 
Terry O'Mara

When odd things occurred at Yelloway - as they did from time to time,

FRANK MARKHAM often wrote a poem, 'cos he liked a little rhyme,
now, sadly, Frank's not with us but I'm sure he wouldn't mind,
if I poked my oar in once again for - an occasion of this kind.
I spent five years at Yelloway and the score I knew quite well,
and for some of those who I recall - this tale I'd like to tell.

I wanted a job at Yelloway - so for an interview I went - you see,
so a chap called HAROLD ROBINSON said, "Well-er-lad-leave it all with me".
Well, 'in effect', I got the job - then met quite a few new faces
then I learned to find my way around - some strange exotic places,
like Siddal Moor and Heywood, Cleveleys and Fleetwood too
and Ramsbottom and Heckmondwyke -  to name but one or two.

I met GEORGE HORROCKS next - a man who'd quite outgrown his hair,
and all the lads called him 'egg-on-legs' - but I don't think that was fair.
There was TONY RAMSDEN, TREVOR GROVES, MICK HEPWORTH, JACKIE WYNN,
MALC PEARSON and of course SID LONG - with his famous one-toothed grin.

DOUGIE WOLFE was there as well with his granite 'lived-in' face,
and his gravel-voiced "Hello dear chaps" would echo around the place,
and his brother DEREK cut a dash with his handsome blonde good looks
but I wondered why he had his hair cut - just like Friar Tuck's!.

Surprisingly enough we had two 'carrot-crunchers' working there,
from Torquay came BILL SLUGGET and from EXETER - DEREK PHARE.
BILL MASON, ROCKY BEBBINGTON - two lads who never hurried, 
and why was it that JOHN WHITWORTH always looked so bloody worried.

RAY BEECHILL'S Yorkshire accent made conversation tricky,
and why was ALAN TAYLOR always known as 'Metal Mickey'?.
I'd better mention DEREK RYAN and RAY CARTER I suppose,
and SAMMY SUTCLIFFE, PETER PRICE, CONCORD and TONY ROSE.

GEOFF SHAW thought he was quite a wit - he liked to poke his fun,
but I never saw him get the best of HARRY ATKINSON.
And there was DAVID DONALD JONES - known as 'D.D.' for short,
a master of quick repartee and a very sharp retort.

But even he was stuck for words when one day with his mates,
he'd to clock on at 0830 - to bat and vac KEN YATES!.
PAUL HARTLEY always made me laugh, when down the yard he'd holler
"Oh, I'm not on Blackpool Duplicates again - right, who do I foller?".

JOHN 'van-der' TAYLOR got some stick when he went across the sea,
and then I got some cushy jobs - so the lads all picked on me.
Then when I got those Jersey trips - well, the ribbing just got worse 
now it's time to get my own back, that's why I wrote this little verse.

Does anyone remember 'ROAD RUNNER'? - he wouldn't let us sleep,
dodging in and out of cars - with his horn a-going 'Beep-Beep-Beep',
With cigar dangling from his lip and his black fur hat askew
look out - keep left - move over lads - RAY SLATER'S coming through!.

There was NIGEL 'tripod' TORDOFF renowned as quite a flirt,
they said he'd chase almost anything that went around in a skirt!, 
In Edinburgh though the poor chap came unstuck - and his blood did near get spilt
when this 'bit of skirt' turned out to be - a big Jock in a kilt!.

DAVE BARON was a 'ladies man' and he liked to dine and sup
and he weren't too bothered how they looked - if they kept his glass topped up, 
JACK LISTER he was quite a card but he got in such a mess,
when he took a trip to Scarborough - but it should have been Skegness!.

GEORGE LONGHURST once told me a tale of the things that he'd done wrong
but I won't repeat it here tonight, because it would take too bloody long!.
Some lads got stitches in their sides 'cos MICK SCANLON was so funny
and some got stitches in their head - but I think they owed him money.

All day long he'd crack those jokes, "Please make him stop" I'd beg,
but he wouldn't - he went on and on - till the tears rolled down my leg!.
And what was that yellow flash that went past on the Blackpool/Clacton run,
was it a bird - or was it a jet? - no it was BERNARD DICKENSON. 

Quite often whilst on that route he'd say, "I hope BOB  REID's about 
I've some passengers who want to pay - and my ticket book's run out".
BONNIE-RONNIE-HODKINSON was a 'Road Steward', which was ideal for skiving,
then RONNIE's ticket books turned up - and RONNIE went back driving!.

MICK HAWKESWORTH could not stand the pace - at least that's what he told 'em
so they gave him an inspectors job and packed him off to Oldham.
With JANICE, JUNE and MARGARET he stayed for several weeks
and whatever it was they did to him - it restored th'colour to his cheeks.

From Blackpool back to Rochdale came inspector ERIC HOGG
so left in charge at Bloomfield Road was - HARRY METCALFE's dog.
So they prompted ERNIE MARKEY and - my word he did look grand
standing there and pointing, saying, "Tut yer toach on't 'tand".

When JAN GAC went to Blackpool - that resort of great renown,
no sooner had he got there than - he knocked a lamp-post down!.
The Council put the lamp back up again - it stood three days, and then,
along came DENNIS CRITCHLEY - and knocked it down again!.

Through Warton EDDIE LUMBARD sped, for he was homeward bound,
then - Atishooo - concentration lost - lamp-post three crashed to the ground.
Poor EDDIE said it weren't his fault - he had this great big sneeze you see,
I said, "Next time you've got a cold, don't bloody come near me!.

When MO KIYANI had a bump, it really was bad news,
'cos he wrote off two Sierras and three B.M.W.s
CYRIL HOWARTH wasn't very please at all - it nigh drove him insane,
in the body shop he toiled all day, but his efforts were all in vain.

CYRIL would mend a coach as good as new, then down the road it went,
but before he'd time to draw his breath - two more would come back bent!. 
In the paint shop GERRY BOYCE worked hard, so too did DEREK BELL
and I should know how hard they worked - 'cos I worked there as well.

We had no time to make a brew - no time to eat our dinners, 
but we had one consolation though - we got as high as kites on thinners!.
Those 'part-timers' got the cushy jobs - picking up the odd 'Day Tripper',
whilst us 'regulars' got lumbered - with that four-day South West Clipper.

BOB WEIGH and BARRY JONES you know - they really had it made,
'cos they did more hours for HUBERT ALLEN than for the fire brigade.
We had a couple of ambulance men - and teachers, quite a few, 
but they can't have taught geography - 'cos they all got lost too.

When the lads all got together, GERRY RUDDY made us laugh,
and you can bet ROD STOCKS would come along and take our photograph.
In his long white smock MAURICE LITTLEWOOD was as proud as punch - it seems,
'till this bloke came up one day and said "How much for two ice-creams"!.
And at Yelloway you knew that it was a sin to go off route
but that did not deter FRED STONE from goin' down't farm to get his fruit.

For those who liked 'white knuckle' rides - in preference to the zoo
we'd take 'em up to Camelot and Alton Towers too,
but the ride that really frightened 'em - and made the bravest of them crack
was the trip with 'CAPTAIN CRACKPOT' - on the journey there and back!.

The traffic jams past Colwyn Bay - we all tried to avoid
but things were really harder  - trying to follow CYRIL LLOYD.
Up mountain tracks - past goats and sheep - through farmyards he would slip
and he would not let no-one off the coach - until he'd got a tip. 

FRANK SALLY was in Bristol 'digs' when the ghost appeared one night
and I'm still not sure if it was Frank - or t' ghost - who got  biggest fright!.
But Frank was all a-tremble and gasping for his breath
until SYLVIA came upon the scene - and frightened t' ghost to death!.
She said "I'll have no friggin' ghosts in here - not wi' out my consent
so pack yer bags - ger out of 'ere - you 'avent paid yer rent.

In Bristol GORDON HARKER said "It wern't a reet lot o' fun
when him and CHARLIE QUARMBY once got threatened with a gun!
The gunman  laughed and yelled - "It's a replica" - then headed for the door 
but Charlie and Gordon got there first - he didn't laugh no more!.

I went on an excursion - to Beverly, one May 
and JACK WHITES information said - it was market day.
When we arrived I took the coach to find somewhere to park it,
then I asked one of the locals which way it was t' market.
He looked at me and laughed and said "Thar't forty year t' late,
we've 'ad nay market 'ere owd luv - since nineteen thirty eight"!.

I often thought that we would have had - much better route descriptions,
if JACK WHITE had kept the payments up - on his R.A.C. subscriptions.
So I asked STAN MARRIOTT for a route - "Stan, which way's best t' go?",
Stan said "Go 'doings', then 'thingummy', then 'wotisit', you know.
When I followed Stan's directions - I realised to my cost,
that when I went via 'doings' and 'thingummy' - I got 'wotisit' - yer know - LOST!.

So, I thought I'd go and ask TONY WHITE - he's bound to know what's what,
but he didn't tell me very much - he just really  pointed quite a lot.
I was getting pretty desperate and I thought, "I've nowt t' lose",
and so - just as a last resort - I went and asked 'JOCK' HUGHES. 
He answered in those Celtic tones - which would have been just great,
if I understood Glaswegian - or had JIM BRATCHIE to translate!.

What he'd said was, "Take the M6 Motorway - that is my advise",
but I couldn't find the damned M6 - so I took the M3 twice!.
Then I figured out where I'd gone wrong - I did feel such a clown,
for I wasn't really lost at all - my map was upside down!.

Down the M5 I was 'cloggin' it'  and weaving through the cones,
when the bleedin' windscreen shattered and woke up ARTHUR JONES!.
It went with such a mighty bang - it gave him quite a fright,
but I never did see anything - that could spoil his appetite.
In winter time Arthur came back north - up here where duty calls,
and he'd sometimes even check a coach - when he weren't in Tommy Balls.

You will all have spent some happy times at Cheltenham - I expect,
where the coaches came from everywhere - in the hope that they'd connect.
At five to three we'd sit and think - "Not long now to wait",
then at five past three - "You can't go yet - we've got one running late."
We'd sit and watch the clock tick on - sometimes an hour or two,
then when the coach arrived they'd say - "Righto - he's got none on for you." 

And I never liked those Bristol nights - I thought it was quite harsh,
when EDDY BUCKLEY woke me up - to go down Cannons Marsh.
And all those motorists towin' caravans, who wanted all our road
and those strange signals that they gave us - those weren't in th' Highway Code!.
"So you think you've got away with it - well, that's what you think, Jack,
I might have missed you goin' down - but I'll get thee on th' way back"!.

It was two o'clock one morning - and I should have been in bed,
but I'd got stuck with a puncture - and I'd sent for Midland Red. 
They came and changed the wheel for me - then to Weir Street sent the bill, 
then ERIC FIELDING had a fit - and HUBERT was quite ill.

And when things went a little wrong, and HUBERT rollocked HAROLD ROBBIE,
Harold would then blame JACK WHITE - well, cock-ups were Jack's hobby.
But Jack in turn would lay the blame at GERRY HENSTOCK'S door,
which was very strange indeed - Gerry'd been off sick for a month or more.
So the buck got passed on down to KEN - he passed it on to MICK,
all he could do was stroll down t' yard - and give the cat a kick!.

I heard when HUBERT ALLEN - went to the Palace for his O.B.E. 
the Queen had said 'Arise' three times - but he'd stayed down on one knee.
Turning to her Aide, she said, "This poor man is trifle deaf, I fear, 
every time one say's 'Arise' - he does not seem to hear.
"Just say 'Get Up', Your Majesty" said this lackey of the Queen's,
"It's no good saying 'A Rise' to him - he knows not what it means!.
Still Hubert didn't budge - he said,  "I gave a rise before,
nearly two per cent it was - in nineteen fifty four!.

When we got back to Weir Street JACK NOONE would fuel us up
and he'd always have the kettle on - in case we'd like a cup,
but the tea tasted very odd indeed - it was the strangest brew,
I've often wondered if old Jack - put diesel in that too!.

The fuel consumption figures made GEOFFREY BARLOW frown,
so he took his little spanner out - and shut the fuel pumps down.
Then 'laughing' BILLY HODGKINSON said "This coach has got no power", 
then he shot off right through Accrington - at eighty miles an hour!.

You'll remember that the breakdown truck was vintage - I've no doubt,
'cos every time you drove the thing - it shook your fillings out.
Through the roof the rain came in, and you couldn't shut the door,
and be careful where you put your feet - or they went right through the floor!.
With ERNIE NICHOLLS at the wheel - it trundled out of town,
then it had to be towed back again - 'cos it kept breaking down.

DENNIS CRITCHLEY - 'DOCTOR DOOM' - as he was known by some,
he said the future wasn't bright - in fact it looked quite glum.
He sat in Coronation Road, his face lined with a frown,
STAN MARRIOTT was getting changed - he'd got his trousers down.
Up jumped Dennis suddenly and said, "The end's in sight"
so CYRIL LLOYD dashed over to the window - and blocked out all the light.

But now the time has passed us by - and we can see that 'Doctor Doom' was right,
'cos now there's no more Yelloway - and that's why were here tonight.
So now, I'm sure your pleased to hear - this tale is nearly done,
And I've had my revenge on most of the lads - but it was meant just in fun.

And so, dear friends, before I go - there's one thing I'd like to do, 
and that's raise my glass up once again - and drink a toast to you.
To the young and the old - to the fat and the thin,
to the shortie's like me - and the tall,
to all those who went down the YELLOWAY ROAD 
Good Luck - and may God bless 'em all.


                                                                             
   Terry O'Mara  (March 1992)

A happy selection of Yelloway drivers during the re-union.
Left to right - Bernard Ralph - Ian Law (who kindly supplied the photograph) - Dave Hopkinson - The late Ken Myers ? - Gerry Ruddy - Paul Hartley - Joe Potts - Vic Thorp.
Many thanks to Vic Thorp for naming the drivers.


Terry O'Mara writes on 16th January 2006:

Hi Dave,

I've just discovered your website. Imagine my surprise to find that the poem that I wrote for the 1992 re-union was featured!

My Inspiration was Frank Markham, driver and later road steward, who was always a great storyteller, helped by his ability to mimic almost anyone. When amusing incidents had happened it was not unusual to find a poem written by Frank on the crew room notice board the following day.

Sadly Frank had passed away by the time of the re-union or I feel sure he would have written something for the occasion, so, having collaborated with him on one or two of his efforts, I decided to have a go myself.

My intention was to sum up in a few short verses the experiences I'd had and characters I remembered from my five years there (1979-84). Once I got started the memories started to flood back, resulting in the 44-verse epic that you have reproduced. The poem was based on actual people or events (with a fair amount of poetic licence) and only scratches the surface of the tales that could be told. I think that this is what was unique about working for Yelloway - so many characters in one place and such a good atmosphere. Good-natured banter was always at the forefront which made me confident that the tongue-in-cheek approach to the poem would be taken in the right spirit.

P.S. One further verse that was not included (don't know why, must have turned over two pages) went as follows:

A retiring kind of chap was JACK CAVANAGH, I recall
he 'retired' each September when 'THE LIST' went on the wall 
Each Autumn he'd say "Right, that's it - enough - I've had me fill" 
then each Spring he'd pop back up again - just like a daffodil!

You asked if anyone could identify the drivers pictured in the colour photo at the re-union. I seem to think that all these were part-time drivers. Third from the right is definitely Paul Hartley and I'm fairly sure that Vic Thorpe is extreme right. Sorry I don't recognise any of the others.

Finally, I have attached some photos that I came across in the loft.
 

Number 1 (above) shows yours truly in front of WDK 564 T. This was taken preparing to depart the coach station on one of my rare visits to Clacton.

    

Numbers 2, 3 & 4 (above) show YDK 590 on a rally after its restoration. My wife tells me this was taken on the ASDA car park at Rawtenstall (obviously before Sunday opening)

I have an interest in this as I worked on it in the paint shop. Gerry Boyce did most of the spraying, especially the finishing coats, while Derek Bell and myself did much rubbing down, buffing, polishing and sweating.

Number 5 (above) is of FWH 38 Y. First of the Leyland Tigers with the new Plaxton body. I was detailed to collect this from Plaxton's near Scarborough and took this picture while it was being given a final check before being released. I believe this was the first Yelloway coach to have an up-and-over door on the luggage compartment.

Finally, number 6 (above) taken in Cheltenham interchange, shows what could happen when things didn't go well. I had to drive this shed (borrowed from Central Scottish Hamilton Depot) after I had broken down on the Cheltenham - Glasgow service. Some 400-odd miles in this was no joke! (or at least not at the time)

Hope some of this has been of use to you.

Good luck with the museum and next time you're going to be in Rochdale please drop me an e-mail.

Yours

Terry O'Mara
~~~~

Many thanks indeed for your tremendous contribution Terry, it is much  appreciated.
                                         

Dave Haddock
 

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