FORMER bus driver for Hants and Dorset and then Wilts and Dorset, Rodney Ernest Allard, from Poole has died at the age of 89.

Ron moved to Rossmore Road in Poole when his house was bombed during World War Two and remained in Poole thereafter. He had a variety of jobs including working at Hamworthy Engineering and Ryvita but most people will remember him as a bus driver, working for many years on Hants and Dorset and then Wilts and Dorset at Poole, until he retired in 1984 due to ill health.

"I remember his tales of driving buses and as I got older I saw something beyond the stories, and appreciated a glimpse into a previous era where manners and pride in your work were the most important part of your job," said Craig Allard, one of his sons.

"He had four boys and two girls from his first marriage of 12 years and then four boys with his marriage to my mum Maggie which lasted 49 years, they had been together for 54 years."

Ron loved his music and had an enviable collection of hundreds of albums, all perfectly organised, shelved and numbered.

"Although his collection included almost every genre, to Ron there were only ever two types of music, Country and Western. And I have him to thank for my genuine love of Country music, and especially Willie Nelson. Ron also liked a tipple, and in fact I had my first beer with him in the form of a shandy many years ago," said one of his grandsons.

Ron was a practical man and loved his DIY and always had a project on the go which included homemade cricket bats and a Scrabble box. He strongly believed in the right tool for the job and his motto was 'don't buy one, I'll make one'.

Craig also remembers transforming a car into a rally car with his dad and brothers. They bolted the spare tyre on the bonnet, knocked out the windows, whitewashed the tyres and painted numbers on the doors with red oxide metal primer. The hand-painted finish wasn't the best but the car was guaranteed rust-free for a long time.

Ron passed away peacefully at Poole Hospital on June 12. His funeral service was held at Poole Crematorium on June 26 and was well attended by friends and family, including ex-bus drivers from Poole and bus inspectors. Ron made his final journey to the crematorium on an old Hants and Dorset double decker bus driven by an ex-driver and organised by Trevor Shore, stopping at three stops along Rossmore Road and Herbert Avenue to pick up family and friends.

"He was a great bus driver, a great father and his is a great loss to the whole family," said Craig.