Derek Hunt, 75 and from Rookley, has been travelling with Red Funnel for half a century with his work as the island’s largest fruit and vegetable wholesaler – Hunt’s.
The ferry firm celebrated the milestone by inviting along his family, friends and staff members, and putting on a party for the duration of a return trip from East Cowes.
Derek, who still travels across the Solent regularly, said:
“A lot has changed since I first made my journey to the mainland. I loved the old ferries that I used to travel on, but the new ones are just super. When I started travelling with Red Funnel I had to fight for a space on the 07:30 ferry on a Monday morning, as that’s when the first one left. Now it’s fantastic that there are so many early morning sailings to accommodate everyone.
“Red Funnel has always been very good to me, and I’ve never had any disagreements with the company. I’m very impressed, and it means a lot to me that they’ve gone to so much effort for my party. I have no plans to retire, and I’d like to keep travelling with Red Funnel for another 50 years if I could!”
Lee Hudson, revenue director at Red Funnel, said:
“We believe in building long-term relationships with our customers and forming real bonds with people we see regularly. We were only too delighted to put together a party for Derek, and I’m so glad he’s enjoyed his time travelling with Red Funnel so far. I hope we continue to see him on our ferries for a long time to come.”