Fifty years of Ulsterbus: I owe my life to one of their drivers, says Co Antrim woman

Ballymena woman Dolores Davidson, who cheated death as a 17-year-old
Ballymena woman Dolores Davidson, who cheated death as a 17-year-old

After nearly 50 years a Co Antrim woman has gone public with a story she is very lucky to be alive to tell.

Dolores Davidson was a pupil at Loreto Convent in Coleraine when she had her brush with death. She was living in Dunloy at the time and believes the year was 1973 which would have made her 17.

As Ulsterbus celebrates its 50th anniversary, this is her story.

“We lived down a wee country road, and we caught the bus up at the top of the main road on the corner, which was a crossroads.

“My brother and I had devised a plan where we could watch for the bus from our living room. You could see all the way up to the road.

“There was plenty of time to get up and get the bus because it stopped for three boys at a scheduled stop before ours. Usually what happened was their mum opened the door, they stepped out and on to the bus and that was our signal to leave the house.

“On this particular day she waved the bus to go on.

“My brother wasn’t at school that particular day so I panicked and set off like the clappers up the road on my own. I was the captain of the school athletics team, so I was capable of a good speed.

“I knew my mother would have killed me if I missed the bus. She didn’t know we used to wait in the house.

“I got up towards the corner where I had to cross. At that time there was a derelict house on the corner and a wee dip down in the road.

“As I was coming up to the road I noticed that the driver was watching me. He began to slide the wee quarter window open. I remember thinking, he’s opening the window to tell me to hurry up, can he not see I’m going as fast as I can.

“Instead he just turned towards me and shouted ‘Stop!’ I stopped immmediately.

“I can still feel the white van whooshing past, coming in the other direction. I remember being scared to look down. I thought there had been a delayed reaction and if I looked down my legs would be gone.

“To my shame I’m not sure if I had the manners to say thank you to the driver for what he did. It was a different bus driver most days and I never saw him again.

“I was in shock and in many ways I’m still in shock even when I think about it now.

“That’s part of the reason why I’m talking about this now.

“If I could speak to the driver now I’d just like to thank him for my life and for the life of my children.”