Life’s a holiday now for tourist bus driver Mike

Mike and Pam Reid (centre), with Graeme Dawson,of Fairmont St Andrews (left), and Andrew Jarvis, managing director of Stagecoach East Scotland, and the St Andrews Open Top Tour bus.

Mike and Pam Reid (centre), with Graeme Dawson,of Fairmont St Andrews (left), and Andrew Jarvis, managing director of Stagecoach East Scotland, and the St Andrews Open Top Tour bus.

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A weel kent and popular St Andrews face has retired – almost – from his role as driver and guide on the town’s open top bus tours.

Mike Reid BEM, from Ceres, retired last week after almost 30 years with Stagecoach, 24 of them organising and driving the town’s open top tours as well as writing the commentary for them based on his encyclopaedic local knowledge.

And he went out with what he described as “the biggest surprise of my life”.

After being invited to be a passenger on his last-ever tour, the journey ended for him at Fairmont St Andrews where he found the whole team waiting for him, including his wife Pam, to enjoy an overnight stay courtesy of the hotel.

As well as the open top tours Mike has been a prolific charity fund raiser, raising around £65,000 for charity over the last 25 years and was awarded the BEM in recognition of his achievements in 2013.

Even in retirement, the charity work goes on – last week a special night for Enable in St Andrews raised £700. There’s also the annual fund-raising trip for friends and family to Weston-super-Mare to look forwards to, with Mike as courier and Pam in charge of refreshments.

One of the most remarkable events of Mike’s career, though, was a bus trip to Bosnia at the height of the war there.

He said: “Mrs Gloag (Stagecoach’s owner) was asked by an Anstruther minister for a bus to take supplies to Bosnia and bring 30 refugees back to Elie.

“We spent five days on the road, with just one night in a hotel in Hungary – two drivers and a driver mechanic.”

Throughout Mike was accompanied by a team from the BBC who filmed the whole adventure.

Now he’s enjoying his well-earned retirement with a bit of gardening, some bowling, and the charity work all on the agenda. But there’s a bit of bus driving planned too, for Mike’s already been asked to stand in from time to time driving the tourist bus around the town.