Wightlink has congratulated customer Gary Theobald for notching up 35 years travelling from Yarmouth to Lymington to work at the Regent Centre in Christchurch.
Staff surprised the season ticket holder as he arrived at Lymington to cross the Solent with his partner Pat, and handed over a travel voucher to say thanks for his loyalty over the years. Gary’s colleagues at the Regent Centre also treated him to a surprise party to mark the anniversary.
Gary revealed his link with the route started even earlier, as he began commuting to the mainland in August 1976 after graduating from university. He remembers he first crossed from Yarmouth on the MV Freshwater, which was retired from service in 1984.
Wightlink Operations Director, Daryl Palmer, said: “We’ve calculated Gary must have crossed the Solent more than 800,000 times during those 43 years. As the crossing is three miles long, that means he’s travelled more than two and a half million miles. We are delighted he has chosen to travel on this route and appreciate his loyalty.”
Gary said: “The best thing about commuting from Yarmouth to Lymington is that it is a friendly route with ever-cheerful and helpful staff. I have also met a lot of wonderful people over the years, who have travelled with me as fellow commuters and who are always good for a chat and a laugh on the way home.
“Finally, it is by far the prettiest route with the birdlife on the Lymington River marshes, the view to the Needles and Western approaches and the old Georgian town of Yarmouth, which are all still a delight to see even after all of these years.”
Picture caption: Loyal traveller Gary Theobald is presented with travel vouchers at Lymington by Wightlink Port Operations Lead, Joe Van Aswegen