Fitting farewell for bus driver Christine
RELATIVES and friends gave popular bus driver Christine Garland a fitting send-off at her funeral.
Scores of colleagues went to Westerleigh Crematorium yesterday on a double-decker bearing the 66-year- old's name, put on by First from her old depot in Lawrence Hill.
The charismatic grandmother passed away on January 6, following a long fight against cancer.
Christine was born in Bristol on April 28, 1947, the first of three daughters to Peggy and Clifford.
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Growing up in Horfield, she went to Bishop Road primary, and the old secondary school there.
She did a number of jobs and in her younger days worked for Cresta Silk on Park Street, becoming accomplished at sewing. Christine went on to work for Wills Tobacco before having her children, Angela, Martin and Darren. In the late 1990s, she decided to become a bus driver and joined First Bus in a job which she loved and brought her many friends.
Christine also leaves younger sisters Kathleen and Penny, and partner of 26 years, Keith May.
Kathleen, 63, said: "Christine had a fantastic sense of humour. She was quite an outspoken person but had a heart of gold and would do anything for anybody."
Christine, who lived in Westerleigh, enjoyed going to play bingo with Keith.
"I will miss Christine forever," he said. "She was a real character and everybody loved her."
Jenny MacLeod, general manager for First in Bristol, Somerset and Avon, said: "In the 14 years that Christine was a bus driver she became a much-loved character around Bristol.
"She was a passionate individual, would go out of her way to help anyone and always gave her all to her work.
"News that she has passed away after her long battle with cancer is obviously incredibly sad and our thoughts go out to her family and loved ones. She was our friend and colleague and we will miss her very much.
"Knowing that many members of staff would want to pay their last respects, on the day of the funeral a special bus was put on to take anyone who wanted to attend."
Friend and colleague Sue Estcourt said: "Christine was just a lovely lady and a real character. She was a straight-talker who always said what was on her mind and became a very good friend."