Barking bus driver records song to highlight importance of positive mental health

Peter Burke drove buses for three years before training and mentoring new recruits. Picture: Peter B

Peter Burke drove buses for three years before training and mentoring new recruits. Picture: Peter Burke - Credit: Archant

A bus driver has released a song to highlight the importance of good mental health when times get tough.

Peter Burke, who works with apprentice drivers out of Barking, staged a return to music more than 20 years after he stopped playing and creating songs.

“The job we do can be quite tough. There can be pressures from passengers and the length of time behind the wheel.

“Then there’s the safety aspect. Any mishap could be quite dangerous.

“What helps at the end of the day is doing something of your own. You need inspiration,” Peter said.

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The 43-year-old mentors new recruits as part of a team aimed at supporting apprentices starting out on a job where drivers can be at the wheel for up to 10 hours a day.

“There can be lots of vulnerable passengers who need a lot of extra care and attention. I’ve seen pedestrians on the road being assaulted, some fatal, some near fatal.

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“You see accidents which shock you. It brings home how dangerous driving can be,” he explained.

During some shifts, Peter would create tunes in his head, gaining inspiration from the things he observed from behind the wheel.

But he stopped short of regularly serenading passengers, though admitted to inviting a Turkish band’s members to play for travellers after they got on board during one shift.

“I was about 21 when I stopped playing and making music. I’m 43 now. I want to make sure I don’t waste those talents,” the singer-songwriter said.

True to his word, he recorded first album Army of Love last year followed by his latest single, Lord Lead the Way, which he shared earlier this month. It puts to music his thoughts on how tough life can be.

The YouTube video was filmed on a rainy day in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Stratford and Hollow Pond near Whips Cross University Hospital.

After experiencing the satisfaction rediscovering his talents has brought, Peter now helps colleagues pursue their own.

“I’ve got drivers into all sorts. Drivers into art, drivers who owned business, drivers into fitness. I work with them to make their outlook as positive as possible,” he said.

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