A BUS driver who took to the wheel aged 17 has retired after six decades on the road.

Jesse Eason has been at the helm of milk wagons, timber lorries, buses, coaches, petrol tankers and multi-wheeled trombone trailers .

“You name it, I’ve driven it,” he said.

Jesse officially retired from his job with Sussex-based Southern Transit, a private bus company, on his 77th birthday and his last trip was driving a bus for the Brighton Pride festival.

But he said he was still planning on driving part-time.

His daughter Sharon Morris said: “He won’t give up – he just won’t. I’ve been trying to get him to retire for the last ten years. But he loves it.”

Jesse, from Woodingdean, is well-known for his fantastic tales from the road.

Sharon said: “I’ve been listening to his stories since I was a kid.”

“He told me once how he turned up at restaurant somewhere off a highway in Europe. He said he sat down, ordered food and began eating. It was only when he looked up that he realised he was at a wedding reception. When he tried to leave, the bride and groom enjoyed his company so much they asked him to stay for the rest of the party.

“Another time, he got stopped at a border when he was shifting timber. The guards opened the back of the truck for a routine inspection – and came out pulling a string of my mum’s brightly-coloured laundry.

“She’d left all her washing in the back and the guards spend a good few minutes rifling through her underwear.”

Jesse began driving trailers in Rottingdean, but has since travelled from the former Yugoslavia to the deserts of Morocco transporting goods and passengers.

He said: “I’ve got 68 Greek stamps on my passport, and the same number for Yugoslavia, Belgium, and Austria. I just can’t get enough of it.

He said: “I used to carry timber from Shoreham harbour. The thing is, driving lets you see the world: I’ve been to Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Portugal, Spain, Sicily, Turkey – all over.

“And whether I’m carrying passengers or driving a truck, I’m known for always being on time.

“But it’s important to take it easy behind the wheel. Nowadays everyone has to get from A to B straight away.

One phrase I learnt in Portugal is “devagar devagar” – slowly, slowly. You’ve got to take it gently on the road.”