Tuesday, 20 February 2001

Paul Sadler

Paul Sadler was known to many for his encyclopedic knowledge of bus timetables and he would often impart information to anyone who looked like they were lost.He was so loved by Stagecoach staff, the company said it hopes to include a special bus for his funeral procession.

This week many friends have left floral tributes at the Paignton station.

Despite his considerable physical disabilities, friends said that Paul never let it hamper him in daily life.

He was on the committee of the Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes Club in Paignton, raising thousands of pounds for good causes.

But it was his love of buses that many people will know him for and he was a regular member of the Busmans' Social Clubs in Torquay and Paignton.

Appreciative bus staff even presented Paul with his own uniform and gave him free travel around Torbay.

Steve Crane, 52, and his wife Pauline, 46, are both bus drivers at Paignton bus depot on Station Lane, and they described Paul as a real character.

Paul added: "He was bus crazy, and he was very well thought of by all the people involved with the bus company."

Peter Foreman, a fellow Buffalo, said: "Paul Sadler, although severely disabled, lived a full life and was respected by those who knew him and loved by many.

"He was born in Coventry, and later moved with his mother to Dartmouth. He was very close to his mother, who was his full-time carer until her death.

"Paul was very intellectual, with a good knowledge of most subjects, and he loved music. Over the years he built a wide collection of classic popular records.

"He enjoyed socialising, was a real comedian and became an ardent brother of the St Michael's Lodge Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes Club in Paignton.

"His fellow brothers held him in high esteem, and we all enjoyed his wicked sense of humour.

"For many years he was an accepted and appreciated part of the bus station scene.

"He learned the bus timetables by heart, and he virtually became the information centre for anyone inquiring about the service and schedules.

"Among the tributes that have been left at the station, one card reads, 'You've gone to a place where the buses are on time and there's plenty of beer.' That's perfect for Paul."

Chris Hilditch, managing director of Stagecoach Devon, said Paul would be missed by all who knew him.

He added: "It's always sad when someone you know passes on. He'd become such a fixture at the station, you thought he'd be around forever.

"He was a genuinely nice chap and we enjoyed his presence. He knew generations of people at the station. I hope we can provide a special bus for his service. I'd certainly be supportive of that."

Colin Bianco, manager at the Isaac Merritt pub, Paignton, where Paul was a regular, said: "He was a lovely chap. He lived just round the corner from us and he used to come in on a Sunday.

"He was a lovely person and he would come in the evenings and chat with a few people. He was very nice and all my staff loved him. He used to get on well with the girls behind the bar."

Bob Hill, former Herald Express sports editor, said Paul's disability was caused by a stroke he had when three years old.

Paul's father was a bus driver for Devon General Bus Company, but his disability meant he was unable to follow this career.

Bob added: "As he grew up, his fascination with buses drew him more regularly down to the bus station, where he became friendly with staff and passengers."