Rye Loses Popular Local Character

Rye has lost a popular figure. Peter “Pip” Sivers, who died very recently, was a well known character in the town. He was best known as a bus driver and was still driving the Jempsons bus very shortly before his sudden death.

Peter was raised in Udimore and attended Udimore Primary School. He went to Udimore Church and Sunday School and sang in the Church Choir.

He moved on to Rye Secondary Modern School and was a keen sportsman, playing soccer for Udimore village team.

On leaving school he went to work on a farm and then came National Service, serving with the Royal Sussex Regiment, first at Chichester for his basic training then on to Minden in Germany and finally for a tour of duty in Korea playing his part in a peace keeping role after the War had ended.

Back to civy street, Pip found himself working for Jempson’s Haulage in Rye and then on to East Kent Road Car Company where he became a bus driver and was soon known by everyone in the town (they were the days when we all went to Hastings on the East Kent bus). Pip also drove for Davies in the 1960’s, taking many local people on Day Outings, Theatre Trips and Holidays, many of these were organised by “Sylvia”.

'Pip' Sivers
‘Pip’ Sivers
The coach that 'Pip' Sivers drove for Davies in the sixties and early
The coach that ‘Pip’ Sivers drove for Davies in the sixties and early

During 1972 a group of American tourists flew into Prestwick Airport in Scotland from Boston. They were met by Peter and his coach to enjoy a British Tour. They were so impressed by Peter’s cheerful banter, they took him to their hearts and they all became firm friends, inviting him and his wife to New England. The following year they set off and enjoyed the most amazing three week holiday. The friendships made continue with Peter’s family to this day.

During the eighties Peter re-took his HGV licence and had many happy years working for ‘Allied Frozen Foods’ formerly ‘Dairy Tops’ in Ashford, “trucking” the length and breadth of Britain until his retirement. One of his favourite songs was “On the Road Again” by Willie Nelson.

Peter did not take to retirement and joined Jempsons of Peasmarsh as one of their ‘shopper bus’ drivers, where he was happy meeting people and helping them with their shopping. He was with Jempsons for seven years until his untimely death. He leaves a widow, Christine , sons Colin and Nigel and their families.

Rye’s Own June 2008

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