Welsh’s to bow out of business
West Yorkshire coach tour operator Welsh’s Coaches is to close in June as its directors, John and Judy Welsh, head for retirement.
Trading for more than 50 years, the Pontefract business started by John’s father, Jim, at its base in the village of Upton, began life serving the local mining community with taxis, school buses and journeys to work, but in the 1980s was faced with the miners’ strikes and subsequent closure of the pits. It then began running coach tours and very quickly got a reputation for the quality of its vehicles and products.
“Retirement had been on my mind for some time,” John told Bus & Coach Buyer. “Covid altered things a little, and since then it’s all been more difficult to organise. On top of this, staff shortages have surfaced everywhere.”
John said that the couple two sons have no interest in the business and, although they had considered selling it as a going concern, set a high bar for the next incumbent: “I felt that I’d only sell to someone who wanted to run the business at the same level, reliably. I did offer it for sale but got nowhere.
“When another respected local company was sold, it went bust later, leaving its customers out of pocket. I didn’t want that to happen. We decided we’d be happier selling the assets and developing the land.”
Bob Welsh and his wife. Marie, founded the company in 1967, and John joined in 1976. The fleet was maintained at a size which the couple and their team could comfortably manage, eventually at seven touring coaches and two feeder minibuses.
A final reunion will be held in early February. John said he wasn’t sure what would occupy his time in retirement but said, at age 69, it was the right time to enjoy decades of hard work.