Published: 15:45, 27 January 2021
| Updated: 17:15, 27 January 2021
Mourners lined the side of the road outside a bus depot this afternoon to pay their respects to the funeral procession of a driver who died of Covid-19.
Scores of former colleagues and other well-wishers turned out in Maidstone as the cortege of Peter Hart made its way along Armstrong Road en route to the crematorium at Vinters Park.
Among the procession earlier was an Arriva bus, bearing the special message 'rest in peace' on its destination display.
Mr Hart, who had driven on the buses in and around the county town for 15 years, was admitted to hospital with the coronavirus on December 14 and died little more than two weeks later.
Paying tribute to her father shortly after his death, daughter Louise Pepper said: "He was well loved, and I think the passengers loved him, he was quite a character."
The 64-year-old, who lived in Maidstone with his partner Linda, was due to retire next year and had worked extra shifts during the pandemic as he sought to prepare financially for life after work.
A father of three and grandfather of seven, he had hoped for the chance to spend more time on the golf course.
His most regular route was driving the number 5 bus between Hawkhurst and Maidstone, and passengers were quick to leave many messages of condolence on a Facebook group dedicated to that bus route.
Colleagues at the Maidstone depot where Mr Hart worked have been fundraising for a memorial in his honour, raising more than £3,700 so far. Ms Pepper says his family is "proud, honoured and touched" that they would wish to remember him in this way.
Colleague Chris Marchant, a union rep at the bus company, said: "Peter was a much loved member of the Maidstone depot, which has been shown by the contributions on his GoFundMe page."