ARRIVA North East has dedicated a bus to a popular driver who died last month.

Stephen Foster, who lived near Darlington, was considered a local celebrity and legend after driving buses in the region for almost three decades.

The 54-year-old, who worked out of Arriva depots in Bishop Auckland and Darlington, unexpectedly died on Wednesday, June 10.

Hundreds of people then lined the streets for Mr Foster’s funeral when a procession of vintage buses and cars followed his hearse from The Eden bus garage, in West Auckland, to Wear Valley Crematorium, in Coundon – closely following the route used by the Arriva X1 service.

Arriva then dedicated an X1 bus to Mr Foster.

Nathan Stanislawski, general manager at the Darlington depot, said: “Steve worked for us for over 15 years and was an extremely popular with colleagues and customers alike.

“As Steve was one original X1 drivers from 2012, the vehicle chosen was one from the original fleet X1 fleet. It was his favourite vehicle so we thought it was fitting to use that one.”