Unite has paid tribute to ‘well-loved and respected’ Brighton bus driver Christopher Turnham following his death last week from Covid-19 and, along with Christopher’s family, ‘implored’ people to stick to social distancing and mask wearing rules.

58-year-old Christopher was a popular driver for Brighton and Hove buses for 17 years and regularly drove the 28 and 29 routes. He was also a longstanding Unite workplace representative dedicated to looking after his colleagues. Tragically, Christopher died on Wednesday 20 January shortly after falling ill with coronavirus. 

Unite said that there is no indication of where Christopher came into contact with the virus. The union also made clear that Brighton and Hove buses have been working with Unite throughout the pandemic to ensure that it buses, depots and other workplaces are as Covid secure as possible. 

The heightened risk to frontline workers, such as bus drivers and others in public facing roles, of coming into contact with the virus, has prompted both Christopher’s family and Unite to remind people to strictly abide by coronavirus safety guidelines.

Unite regional officer Phil Silkstone said: “Chris was a well-loved and respected driver and Unite workplace representative at Brighton and Hove Buses and he will be terribly missed.

“Unite has been working with the company throughout this crisis to make the workplace as safe as possible and there is no indication of where Chris came into contact with the virus. However, this tragic loss highlights the need for everyone to play their part in preventing the spread of this invisible and indiscriminate killer. 

“Social distancing and mask wearing by passengers and the general public is particularly crucial for our bus drivers and other key workers, who, like Chris, dutifully put themselves and their families at risk every day to keep our communities running.

“Our thoughts and condolences are with Chris’ friends and family at this incredibly sad time and Unite will be working with the company as always to ensure a safe environment for all.”

In a statement, Chris’ family said: “We are devastated at the passing of our much-loved son, brother and uncle Christopher. He was a truly caring and gentle soul who was loved by so many. 

“We are left with a huge hole in our hearts, life will never be the same without him. We do not wish the pain we are feeling to be inflicted upon any other families. Please, we implore you, follow the guidelines and wear a mask at all times.”  

ENDS

Notes to editors: 

Christopher’s family have asked not to be contacted by the press. 

During the coronavirus crisis Unite is working to keep workers and the public safe, to defend jobs and to protect incomes.
 
For media enquires ONLY contact Unite communications officer Ryan Fletcher on 07849 090215.
 
Email: ryan.fletcher@unitetheunion.org
 
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Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.