OBITUARY: Eddie Brown – 1925-2021

Eddie Brown, the founder of what became one of the UK’s most respected coach operators, has passed away aged 96.

An interest in cars and all things mechanical prompted Eddie to pursue a post-war career in coaches. He bought his first coach, a 20-seat Commer, in 1949 for £200, a move that delayed his marriage to his sweetheart Gwen for a year. It was a relationship that saw them working together to develop the business, based at the old Blacksmith’s Shop in Helperby, a small North Yorkshire village between York and Thirsk.

Eddie was a familiar face, both with his local community, where he would often be seen out behind the wheel, and with the wider coach industry. With his love of engineering he would frequently be found in the garage keeping the fleet in top condition. With Gwen he developed a reputation for quality and first-class customer service.

Eddie and Gwen retired officially in the early 1990s, but like so many family-owned and run coach operators, it was retirement in name only. Over the following years he maintained his interest, both in the company and in the industry he had grown to love. He would regularly drive many of the taxi feeders for the ‘Door to Door’ holiday service. He often said that one of the true joys of the job was meeting his customers, many of whom were close friends. In ‘retirement’ he enjoyed travelling on the company’s coach holidays, feeding his thoughts back to the team at head office.

He leaves behind a daughter, Deirdre, who now runs her own successful coach holiday business, a grand-daughter Natalie, and great grandson Albie. Albie’s middle name is Edwin, Eddie’s ‘proper’ first name.

Talking about her dad, Deirdre says: “Dad was such a respected gentle-man of the coach industry. He worked hard driving coaches by day and mending them by night! I always knew he was home from his day driving for West Yorkshire Road Car as his coach, TRY 51S, had such a unique tone, and I would run out to meet him for a hug. Latterly I had such happy times with Dad on our tours after mum died. He was my best friend and mentor. My own business, Deirdre Brown Travel, has succeeded thanks to my parents’ constant guidance. I have had so many comments – ‘A legend’, ‘What a guy’, ‘His smile will stay with me’, ‘A cracking bloke and always there to help others within the coaching industry.’

We will all miss him.”

Eddie’s final ‘Mystery Tour’ (the funeral) will take place at 1pm on Thursday 6 January 2022 at St Peter’s Church, Brafferton, Helperby, York YO61 2NZ. Family flowers only please.

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