A much loved bus driver and friend to generations of school-goers has parked his bus for the final time.
Billy Tobin retired on December 22 after 45 years of driving primary and secondary children to school. He started driving the Ballingeary route in 1967, but took on the Garryclougher to Cahir primary school route in 1968 when Garryclougher school closed.
Approximately 4000 or more children have travelled to school on “Billy’s Bus” in the past 45 years, and all those years have been totally accident free. Second, third and even fourth generations of families have been safely transported to school by Billy - to Cahir Boys NS, Our Lady of Mercy Girls NS, Colaiste Dun Iascaigh secondary school and its predecessors.
Billy is such a well loved character, always in good form even early in the morning, he has been known to sing the odd tune on the bus, perhaps ‘Get that auld lobby washed down Tom Shine,’ might ring a bell with past passengers! He always waited the few extra few minutes for those othat may have “slept it out”, but of course Billy would ask the question - did you sleep outside?
The 2011/2012 primary children and their parents presented Billy with a beautiful engraved watch to mark his retirement and speaking for the school-goers and parents, Susan Murphy said they would like to wish Billy a long, happy and helathy retirement with no more early mornings! Susan, who took Billy’s Bus to school as a primary pupil said: “We would like to thank Billy for his patience, good humour and 45 years of safe driving. Thanks Billy.”
Billy is now enjoying his retirement with his wife Kitty, at their home in Carrigataha, Cahir.