Tributes to bus driving legend who 'couldn't go anywhere without stopping'

Tributes have been paid to a ‘jovial’ bus driver of more than 40 years and the mayor’s chauffeur who ‘enjoyed being part of the community’.

Rodney Dickinson died suddenly but peacefully from a respiratory infection at Springhill Care Home in Accrington on May 11, aged 87. The beloved father-of-two was a bus driver for Accrington Corporation Transport, secretary of Great Harwood Male Voice Choir and secretary of Popular Club in Accrington.

His daughter, Autumn, said: “He was jovial, sociable and he had lots of friends at work. He loved driving people around and he enjoyed being part of the community. He idolised the mayors and mayoress he drove around and loved that job. When he was secretary for Great Harwood Male Voice Choir, his phone never stopped ringing.

“We couldn’t go anywhere without anyone stopping him to say hello, especially the bus drivers at the old bus station that used to be near the Commercial.

READ MORE

“Everyone round there knew him and would ask me how he was doing. He was very proud of his grandchildren and he always picked the right gifts for them at birthdays and Christmas.”

Rodney, who was affectionately known as Rod, was born in Accrington. His father, Richard Dickinson, along with his brother, John, had a plumbers merchants called Samuel and Sons in Accrington.

They were well known in the community as plumbers and also as landlords as they owned properties on Burnley Road and near to the area. Rodney’s mother and father were also born in Accrington in 1932 and they had three sons; Granville, Rodney and Melvin.

He served in the RAF at the age of 18 where he took up postal and logistical duties and he married Bernadette in 1960.

When he left school, he went to work as a bus driver for Accrington Corporation Transport from 1958 to 1992 and travelled all over the borough and beyond including Oswaldtwistle, Bacup, Waterfoot and Burnley. The devoted grandfather-of-four would also pick up workers from the Howard and Bullough factory and take them home.

Rodney was proud to have been a chauffeur for two mayors and one mayoress in the late ‘80s. He would drive them to events they were invited to and he had lots of laughs during his time as a chauffeur.

Rodney also worked as a volunteer driver for disability charity, Inskip in the ‘80s where he met and married his second wife, Maureen. He was at the helm of Great Harwood Male Voice Choir as secretary and his choir days were between 1982 to 1998.

Rodney was the driving force in getting well deserved recognition for the choir and he played an instrumental role in getting the BBC to come to Accrington Town Hall to report on events.

His role also involved organising concerts and his biggest achievement was getting a male voice choir from Wales to make a rare and special appearance in Accrington Town Hall in the mid- 90s. The event was a roaring success and the hall was packed with a sea of people, among them were different mayors from all over Lancashire.

The adored great grandfather-of-one loved steam train model railways. Autumn fondly remembers she and her sister, Kathleen, seeing his treasure trove of steam train model railways in their attic.

He owned limited-edition train models such as the rare and famous gold-plated Stephenson’s Rocket.