Ferrymaster retires after 288,000 sailings

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A FERRYMASTER from Boldon is celebrating 25 years of service.

Bob Paterson has crossed the River Tyne 288,000 times since starting at the Shields Ferry.

The 53-year-old has been recognised for his dedication and long service by Nexus, which owns and operates the ferry.

Bob says that most of all, he’s enjoyed having 25 years of banter with his passengers.

The father-of-one, who lives in The Cotswolds, Boldon Colliery, said: “I have had a great time working on the Shields Ferry over all these years.

“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it and I’m looking forward to continuing. It’s a great job. I’ve had some really proud moments.

“I’ve met Her Majesty The Queen twice, and Princess Anne when she launched Spirit of the Tyne in 2007.

“I was also extremely proud in 2010 to become frontline employee of the year at the National Transport Awards.”

Bob started work for the Tyne and Wear PTE, now Nexus, in August 1989.

A proud Scot who has settled in the North East, Bob has been involved in five river rescues over the years and is a piper in the South Tyneside Pipes and Drums band.

He and his fellow pipers have often done performances at the ferry landing and on board.

The ferry skipper is also a keen a fund-raiser for Help for Heroes, having been inspired by his son, Lance Corporal Kevin Paterson, who has served with the Black Watch in Afghanistan.