Chorley bus drivers' touching tribute to Wigan dad Arnie Naylor, who tragically lost battle with Covid-19
Grieving transport employees will rally together to pay an emotional tribute to a popular bus driver.
Arnie Naylor, who worked on the Chorley Hospital bus route, always had a cheery smile for his colleagues and passengers.
The 56-year-old had been managing coronavirus symptoms at home for a week when his condition deteriorated, and on Easter Sunday he was admitted to Wigan Hospital.
The much loved dad fought the illness for 12 more days, and was able to speak to his family using video messaging, but his condition tragically deteriorated and he passed away in intensive care on May 5.
His colleagues will mark his passing with a special tribute ride past Chorley Hospital on Thursday, shortly before the nationwide clap for NHS and care staff takes place at 8pm.
They will wear T-shirts bearing his favourite catchphrase: 'Dilly dilly' from a Budweiser advert.
Arnie, who has been a bus driver for more than 30 years - the last two at Stagecoach - is survived by his wife Yvonne, and three children between them, Chris, Jane and Louise.
The family, from Leigh, near Wigan, are touched by his colleagues' gesture.
Yvonne said: "It's really nice of them, the drivers will be clapping for the NHS as well as Arnie.
" He loved his job, he did it for more than 30 years.
"He was just so friendly. Arnie was very bubbly and outgoing, the life and soul and he liked attention. He'd love what's happening on Thursday.
"You always knew when Arnie was around - he was a massive Liverpool fan and always shouted at the television.
" We'd been married for 23 years in June. We were very close, we didn't go out without one another.
" He was always there for the kids and was very protective of us."
Arnie's funeral will take place at Howe Bridge Crematorium on Thursday May 28, at 10am - and though only 10 mourners can attend, the service will be broadcast online for people to attend.
Matt Davies, Managing Director of Stagecoach Merseyside and South Lancashire, said: "The thoughts of everyone here at Stagecoach are with the family and friends of Arnie along with those of other bus workers in the country who have sadly passed away.
"Arnie will be sorely missed by his colleagues at Chorley whom he saw every day.
"His cheerful positive attitude and humour rubbed off on all of the team every day and it won’t be the same without him.
"Our hearts go out to all of those who have lost loved ones at this time. We are incredibly proud of the professional job all bus workers are doing at this difficult time."