FORMER bus driver for Yellow Buses and Hants and Dorset, John Hartnell, has died at the age of 70.

One of seven children, John grew up in Wallisdown and attended St Joseph's School in Poole.

His fascination with steam trains began from a young age and led him to his first job working on the Royal Wessex, (Business Mans) train at 8.40am from Bournemouth to Waterloo.

"He then followed his father, Jack, by joining the Hants and Dorset bus company where he was a conductor until he turned 21 and took his bus driving test," said one of his daughters, Helen Saunders.

A major fire at Bournemouth Bus Station in 1976 saw him change jobs to work for Shamrock and Rambler Coaches and then in 1984 John started working as a bus driver for Yellow Buses until he retired in 2012 after clocking up 28 years' service with the company.

It was through his work on Yellow Buses that he became well known around the town popping into many coffee shops to sit and read the paper. He featured in the Daily Echo on more than one occasion mainly because he was an avid Cherries supporter and season ticket holder since the 1970s, and followed the team all the way to the Premier League. He was also pictured in the Echo ice skating on Poole Park lake when it had frozen over during the bad winter of 1963/64.

In 1972 he married Angela at Poole Register Office and they had daughters, Michelle and Helen. In 1996 they divorced but still remained good friends.

"John was well known for his all year round tan with many people commenting as they got on the bus. He loved to talk about travel with anyone that shared his passion, his favourite place was Norway with its stunning scenery," said Helen.

"During his split shifts he would often sit and enjoy the sun on a bench in Bournemouth Gardens or down the beach. Dad would meet up with regulars at Vesuvio, Alum Chine, and the conversation was easy as he had many interests including cars, gardening, photography, stamps, coins and postcard collections. He attended steam events and was at his happiest at Swanage Railway or spending Sundays attending stamp fayres.

"He loved all things old and defiantly resisted the modern world of computers and mobile phones. Dad will be remembered for his vibrant colour choice of jumpers and was also a bit of a joker."

John passed away suddenly on September 6 at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital after being diagnosed with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF).

His funeral will be held at Bournemouth Crematorium on September 21 at 10am. All are welcome to attend his Celebration of Life service with donations going to the British Lung Foundation.