Norfolk’s oldest established coach operator is to call it a day after 108 years following illness.
Reynolds Coaches of Caister-on-Sea is to close from 31 July. Charles Reynolds, the operation’s Director, was diagnosed with lung cancer in the latter part of 2017. He was given two years to live. Between November of 2017 and April 2018, he received chemotherapy. He said: “Due to the wonderful staff at the Sandra Chapman unit in the James Paget Hospital, and also Doctor Dernedde my consultant, whose most positive attitude gave me strength during the lowest points of my illness and treatment, I am glad to say I should enjoy many more years.”
He continued: “During and after my illness, what has become clear is the fact that I can no longer continue doing 80/90 hour, six and a half day weeks, which my business requires to continue to be a success, and provide you with the service that you have come to expect.
“Although I have one daughter, she lives with her husband and two young children in the south west, and they have their own property and leisure business, so very sadly I have no one to succeed me. I have also looked for a suitable company who would continue to offer my customers a high level of service, to take over Reynolds Coaches, but again sadly without success.
“It is after careful consideration and with sadness and regret that I find myself in the position, that after well over 100 years and three generations; I will have to close Reynolds Coaches of Caister. Although the company Reynolds Coaches Ltd will continue to function for some time to come until all is settled, coach operation will cease effectively from 31 July 2018.”
An auction of Reynold Coaches’ equipment, coaches and other assets is to take place on 11 August, held by Malcolm Harrison Auctions (www.malcolmharrison.co.uk).
Charles said: “This is one of the saddest and most difficult decisions I have had to make in my life. While my heart says carry on, the fact is I cannot. Reynolds Coaches, my family business, has been my life since I was a young child. However, I must now consider my wife and family, and indeed myself.”
Reynolds Coaches of Caister is considered the oldest established coach operator in Norfolk. The business was started just after the turn of the century by Newman Charles Reynolds. It was originally set-up in the High Street, in the centre of Caister-on-Sea, near Great Yarmouth. Another depot was added in Northgate Street, Great Yarmouth.
The first vehicles it used were horse-drawn carriages, followed shortly by motorised 14-seat charabancs. These latter vehicles had lorry bodies fitted in winter months for haulage work. The business carried out a variety of operations including passenger transport, haulage, taxis and even building development. Reynolds Avenue in Caister was named after Newman.
Newman Charles Reynolds died in 1944. After WWII, Newman’s son Leonard and his wife Grace took over the haulage and passenger transport side of the business. After the war, the business re-located to its present site at Ormesby Road, Caister. The haulage operation was finished in the mid 1970s to concentrate on coaches.
In 1977, after engineering training with Mann Egerton & Company, Leonard’s son Charles joined the business. He became a Partner in 1984 and on Leonard’s death in 1996 became sole owner. Between the mid 90’s and the present day the Coach fleet expanded from eight coaches to its present-day fleet of 21. In 2007 it became a Limited Company.