All aboard 'Best' bus

THIS is a North West firm's tribute to a Northern Ireland footballing legend which left his sister crying tears of pride.

Sandy Arthur's George Best inspired Scania truck has received UK wide recognition, picking up 12 awards for its outstanding artwork of the football hero.

It has now been joined in the stable by a lorry bearing the image of deceased pop star, Michael Jackson.

George Best's sister Barbara McNarry gave permission to the Managing Director of the Aghanloo based training services company to recreate the images of her brother. On the day she visited Limavady, emotion overtook the star striker's sister.

"We had to ask permission from Barbara to recreate images of George on the truck," explained MD Sandy Arthur, "She was very kind and provided us with personal pictures of him, so that's what you can see on the truck. Since then we have held a special relationship with the George Best Foundation, which is run by Barbara, and attend many charity events with the truck.

"We bought the truck about roughly one year to fifteen months after George died, from an auction in England. We took it back to our Aghanloo base where we fixed it up, rebuilt it and sandblasted it.

"I knew when I got it that we were going to recreate someone on there, a legend like John Wayne or Johnny Cash. My wife Mary actually came up with the idea of recreating images of George Best.

"Since then we have done lots of events, on our own and with the George Best Foundation, and it's unreal the reaction we get from the public when they see it. I have had grown men cry looking at it, real hard core George Best fans. And it's amazing that it's getting that kind of reaction."

The Limavady borough truck picked up it's first award in 2007 at a charity event in Ballymena and then went onto to scoop the prestigious customized truck of the year at the Edinburgh Truck Festival. Altogether the Best inspired lorry has won a dozen awards. Following in its footsteps is Sandy Arthur's latest creation - a Scania 580 164 dedicated to pop legend Michael Jackson, which was highly commended in July of this year, before being finished.

Sandy added: "The trucks took around three months to finish their art work, which was sprayed on by the very talented Gary O'Neill of G-COM in Toomebridge. We have a lot of charity events lined up for the rest of the year around Northern Ireland which includes taking Santa Claus to a few places, but we would love to do more stuff around Limavady."