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Family coach company in Osbournby scoops top awards

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A local, family-run coach company fought off strong competition to scoop one of the most prestigious awards in the industry.

A&P Travel, which is based in the former post office in Osbournby High Street, was announced as ‘Coach of the Year 2018’ at the annual UK Coach Rally in Blackpool, last month.

Since the first event in Clacton, in 1955, the UK Coach Rally has acted as a great showcase for coaching and coaching people and is recognised for presenting and celebrating the very latest models in fleets up and down the country and celebrating the coachbuilder’s art in preserving the best of the vehicles of the past.

Paul Cartwright, who set up A&P Travel with his dad Alan in 2006, attended the two-day event with his family and two of his fellow drivers.

Despite it being the first time that the family firm had entered into any of the awards at the rally, they also picked up two other awards for Top CPT Member and the Van Hool Trophy for ‘Top Van Hool.’

Paul said: “We have attended the coach rally for the past 25 years but merely as spectators. We decided to enter this year after our friends in the industry encouraged us to.”

The weekend kicked off with a 50km road run, to give the coach drivers an opportunity to show off their driving and navigation skills.

Each team were given instructions five minutes before they had to start driving and were tested on their ability to locate different check points without the use of a sat nav, use the right roads and maintain an average speed. A&P came second out of 45 coaches.

After a social evening, all the coach companies gathered for the awards ceremony on Sunday, which took place at the foot of Blackpool Tower on the ‘comedy carpet.’

Paul said: “They had about 60 trophies set out on a table. As they started to diminish, I lost a bit of hope, but then my wife, who was already seated on our coach, ran over to say that ribbons and a garland had been placed on around

our vehicle.”

A&P Travel had been awarded ‘Coach of the Year 2018’ with their Van Hool TX16 Acron despite their coach being two years old.

Paul added: “We couldn’t believe it. Everyone around us was cheering and clapping. Although we had spent a lot of time cleaning and polishing the coach, it was up against some brand new coaches, who had never had a single bum on their seats. Ours had just returned from a trip to Spain less than a week before the rally.”

After arriving home, the company were inundated with wellwishers.

Paul added: “The phone wouldn’t stop ringing with family, friends, customers and other operators in the industry wanting to offer their congratulations.

Despite work carrying on as normal, Paul admits that they are all still on cloud nine, adding: “To see our name on the trophies alongside some really high profile coach companies is a great feeling.

“We are just a little family firm from Lincolnshire after all.”

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