Tributes paid to city busman Peter, the 'life and soul' of his family

Peter Ablett (left) pictured with his conductor Derek Douglas in 1983

Peter Ablett (left) pictured with his conductor Derek Douglas in 1983 - Credit: Tim Moore

Tributes have been paid to a former city bus driver who "would help anyone he could". 

Peter Ablett was born and bred in Norwich, attending Bowthorpe Comprehensive and later Heartsease High School.

At the age of 19 he met his sweetheart Julie through friends and the pair went on to marry in 1976. 

Peter Ablett with his wife Julie on their wedding day in 1976

Peter with his wife Julie on their wedding day in 1976 - Credit: Julie Ablett

Between the years of 1978 and 1983 the pair welcomed three daughters: Sereeta, Melissa and Renee. 

He then saw his girls have their own children - five granddaughters named Britney, Hollie, Meghan, Ella and Sophia. 

Britney lived with her grandparents in north Earlham and said: "My grandad was the life and soul of our family.

Peter pictured with John Claridge (right) and Glyn Hughes (far left) in 1987

Peter pictured with John Claridge (right) and Glyn Hughes (far left) in 1987 - Credit: Tim Moore

"If he saw anyone who needed help he was always the first to volunteer. Even if he couldn't sort it himself he'd always try and find someone who could. 

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"He always said he wanted a boy but he had three daughters and then five granddaughters - we used to say his bald patch came from always being surrounded by us and our problems!"

Peter Ablett (left) with Trevor Powley in 1983

Peter Ablett (left) with Trevor Powley in 1983 - Credit: Tim Moore

Mr Ablett began on the buses as a conductor and worked his way up to be a driver. 

Britney said: "He absolutely loved driving - I think it was the freedom of it. He knew the city like the back of his hand, he was like a personal sat nav for me.

"Every time I got lost I'd give him a call and he'd immediately start giving me directions: 'Take a left, then go right, carry on for a bit and you're there'. It was amazing. 

Peter in 2002

Peter in 2002 - Credit: Tim Moore

"There were no particular routes he preferred - he loved them all. He was always working overtime just because he enjoyed his work so much.

"His nickname was Tablet. People used to get confused about how to spell his name and he would say: 'It's like tablet but with the t at the end', but in the end people would just call him Tablet."

Peter had to retire from his work because of medical difficulties, suffering a heart attack and later Crohn's disease. 

Peter Ablett, fondly remembered as a Norwich bus conductor and driver

Peter Ablett, fondly remembered as a Norwich bus conductor and driver - Credit: The Ablett family

But outside of his work Peter always found the fun in life. 

"One of his favourite things to do was have mushy pea-eating competitions with his best friend. 

"He and Colin Bowles, who passed away in 2005, used to go out to the mushy pea stall in Great Yarmouth and see how many they could eat. 

"They'd get through about eight or 10 portions each," Britney said. 

Melissa added: "Dad always thought he was going to win - but Colin won every time. I've got too many happy memories with him to count."

Peter Ablett with his family

Peter Ablett with his family - Credit: The Ablett family

Britney added: "He also loved his pets - he had fish and budgies. 

"He had an indoor tank and an outdoor pond which he really enjoyed - they were pretty easy to look after. But if he could hear them now he'd say the budgies have started making an absolute racket."

And Peter was also prone to calamity, Britney added. 

"He was very accident-prone, always getting into scrapes," she said. 

Peter Ablett who lived in north Earlham

Peter Ablett who lived in north Earlham - Credit: The Ablett family

"One year he was trying to put up some Christmas lights and the ladder came sliding down - just a few weeks ago he tripped over my printer and almost headbutted the fridge. 

"He was always covered in bruises but insisted they never hurt," she added. 

"Now was his favourite time of year," added Melissa. 

"He loved travel but didn't really like hot weather. We went to Legoland in Windsor this year and hoped to go back next - he absolutely loved that," Britney said. 

"He just loved being with us. He loved Christmas too, when we were all together and having fun. We're a very close family," she said. 

Peter died on November 19. 

Funeral arrangements will be shared in the Facebook group 'Norwich buses before 1994'.