I am very sad to report the death of my old friend Vin McKenna, who died aged 62 on Tuesday of a heart attack.
For anyone in the bus industry, McKenna is an instantly recognisable name - that of producers of destination blinds, a business which Vin and his brother Paul set up in 1978.
From small beginnings, their business benefitted from a bus industry rapidly outsourcing. Today, their products are in use worldwide. They now produce electronic displays, powered destination equipment and a complete design, print and fit vehicle vinyls service.
From their earliest hand-cut lettering days McKennas carved a niche market in producing high quality destination blinds. Just as London Transport’s own in-house production department was giving way to outsourcing, McKenna's caught the market. Before long they were producing material to the highest quality standards for which they are deservedly renowned today.
As technology developed they broadened their range and inevitably gained international acclaim for their work. Only a couple of months ago they were visited by Mayor Boris Johnson to acknowledge the work that they do.
Vin was one of the industry’s colourful characters. His dry wit, laconic delivery, and huge generosity was his marque. A family man, he also enjoyed playing a part in the huge family which is the international public transport community.
To enjoy more leisure time, he had handed over daily responsibility to others – Derek Dawson, Malc Randles and team but, remained ‘in charge’ in his own special way.
It is not always easy to describe in a few words how someone may be remembered after they have gone. For Vin it is very simple. On the front, side and rear of every London bus - is a destination blind made at his Middleton, Manchester factory by his team of dedicated staff - showing us the way.