A DUDLEY bus driver has retired after a 55 year career behind the wheel which has seen him raise 22,000 for good causes.

Dave Gerrard, also known as a Master of the Black Country by his colleagues, was welcomed by friends, family and colleagues as he drove into the National Express West Midlands’ Pensnett garage for the very last time.

Dave completed his final trip on a bus that’s named after him in recognition of his work in the community.

Over the course of his career Dave has raised over £22,000 charities that are close to his heart, including Birmingham Dogs Home, Russells Hall Hospital, the Royal British Legion and Macmillan Nurses.

Dave said: "As a young boy I used to stand outside Bearwood garage taking down the bus numbers. Drivers used to doff their caps to me.

“I couldn’t wait to start my dream job - so as soon as I turned 21 I applied. I passed my test and drove my very first bus out of the very same garage - and I doffed my cap.

"I’ve had a great career and been lucky enough to have made so many friends with my customers, colleagues and charities that I’ve worked with.

“Now I’m looking forward to spending more time at home with my wife and receiving visits from my children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. But most of all, I’m looking forward to ditching my alarm clock!”

To mark his final shift, Dave wore the same uniform that he wore on his first day as a bus driver over 50 years ago.

Phil Bowen, Operations Manager for National Express West Midlands, said: “Dave’s an absolute legend and very well thought-of both here at National Express West Midlands and in the wider Black Country community.

“He’s given so many years of loyal service to our business and our customers across the region, and he’s dedicated so much of his own spare time to help many different charities.

“We’d like to wish Dave all the best for a very happy retirement with his family.”