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June 12 2018
By Mel Holley

A former routeone editor, Mel has more than 30 years’ experience in road and rail transport journalism.

Norfolk's oldest, Reynolds Coaches
of Caister, is to close

Norfolk’s oldest surviving coach operator, Reynolds of Caister, established in 1910 is closing due to the illness of proprietor Charles Reynolds.

Attempts to find a suitable buyer have failed and after 108 years and three generations, the family firm will stop operating on 31 July. All assets will be auctioned by Malcolm Harrison Group will be holding an auction of the coaches and stock at its depot on 11 August. It holds an O-Licence for 19 vehicles.

In a letter to customers, Charles Reynolds writes: “During the latter part of 2017 I was diagnosed with lung cancer. At that point I was given around two years to live. Between November of 2017 and April 2018 I have received chemotherapy treatment. Due to the wonderful staff at The Sandra Chapman unit in The James Paget Hospital, and also Doctor Dernedde my consultant, who’s 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.  

“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 Limited will continue to function for some time to come until all is settled, coach operation will cease effectively from 31st July 2018. An auction will follow in relation to the equipment, coaches and other assets in August.

“For those of you that have had bookings with us from August onwards I will have already, or will be in touch with you to discuss alternatives. 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. I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you so much for your loyal custom. Many of you have become lifelong friends, and I will miss the relationship that we have built up, in many cases over many years.”

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