Malcolm Hitchin, hero of 1976 Derby depot fire

Malcolm Hitchin, former fleet engineer with Trent Barton owner Wellglade and a hero of the disastrous Derby depot fire in 1976, died on 26 January aged 84.

He was closely associated with Trent throughout his life, using the buses that passed his home in Derby to go to school from the age of five. In 1950, he became an engineering apprentice with the company, where he stayed with only a break for national service until retirement after 50 years’ service.

His final job was as engineering standards manager, but he is possibly best remembered for his time as garage superintendent of Meadow Road depot in Derby. He was there when the 1976 fire destroyed a large number of vehicles, and for his actions on that night he was appointed MBE.

He went on to be Western Area engineer and fleet engineer of the Wellglade Group.

He was a great source of advice beyond Trent and known to many for his helpful attitude. He regarded the buses he was responsible for as his own. ‘Driving them for two years, I can vouch that their condition reflected his care,’ says bus author Roger Davies. He wrote a memoir entitled Keeping the Wheels Turning.