Dudley Haynes, for many years the driving force behind Banstead Coaches and regarded as a man who “had the coach industry in his blood,” died on 23 April. He was 72.
The son of Charlie and Doris Haynes, Dudley was born in 1949, the same year that Banstead Coaches was founded. He joined his parents at the family-run Surrey operator at the age of 21, beginning as a cleaner before moving to driving, managerial and, later, engineering roles. Over Dudley’s time with the business, he contributed to its growth from 10 vehicles to the current 17, and even in his later years he was still often present at 0430hrs supervising the morning run-out.
From the early 2000s onwards, Dudley had devoted more time to workshop activities. His office role transferred to Matthew, son of Dudley and his wife Christine, who now leads the business. Matthew formally joined Banstead Coaches in 1990, having been around it since long before that, and he was tutored extensively in the ways of the industry by his father. The operator remains a family concern, and now also involved is Matthew’s daughter Aimee.
Work ethic ‘never dwindled with age’
Aimee recalls Dudley’s lasting contribution to Banstead Coaches with pride, noting that he remained hands-on until the end. “The yard was like his garden shed; he would even be there on weekends. There was always a coach that he was not happy with, a respray to be done or something to tinker with, which often meant he was in his overalls,” she says. “His work ethic never dwindled with age. He was the first in and the last out.”
Since the dawn of the pandemic, Dudley had found more reason to leave the yard, Aimee continues: A new dog, fittingly called Bedford in honour of his favourite chassis manufacturer. Among the Bedford coaches to have passed through the Banstead fleet was a tri-axle VAL with Plaxton Panorama bodywork that was delivered new in 1965.
As a ‘Chinese Six’, the VAL was less manoeuvrable than some other coaches of the day.
“But Dudley loved nothing more than to take it out on a day trip, down country lanes and with no air-conditioning, in the good old days of coaching,” adds Aimee.
Other less-usual Bedfords in the Banstead fleet were a pair of YMTs with Van Hool McArdle bodywork, delivered in 1977.
Committed to helping the industry
Core to Dudley’s beliefs was that a coach should be versatile and capable of doing all work as required. That continues in the current Banstead fleet, which is dominated by the Temsa HD12 model. He led from the front, says Aimee, never accepting any work that he would not drive himself.
Dudley was also keen to engage with the wider coach industry, working with fellow operators near and far and through its representative bodies. Immediately after his death, tributes came from industry peers across the UK, including from as far away as the north coast of Scotland.
“That is something we have maintained within Banstead Coaches, working closely with many local operators,” says Aimee, who highlights Crawley Luxury, Edward Thomas Coaches and Reptons Coaches as examples of that. “The outpouring of support since Dudley’s death has been very much appreciated. In the early 2000s, he devoted his time to the workshop and maintaining high vehicle standards, never selling or part-exchanging a coach without it being in tip-top condition with a full service history, and even spare parts.”
UK Coach Rally: A big supporter
Dudley was well known for his support of the UK Coach Rally. That is something Matthew has maintained, most recently entering a Temsa HD12 in the 2022 Rally just two weeks prior to Dudley’s death.
Dudley claimed the Coach Driver of the Year title in 1979, 1985, 1994, 1996 and 2003. The earlier of those years saw friendly competition for the accolade with Peter Bibby of Bibby’s of Ingleton, a close friendship that “has now been passed down a generation,” notes Aimee. The Rally’s Bedford Cup was also awarded to Banstead on more than one occasion.
Dudley last entered the Coach Rally in 2012. However, Banstead’s involvement with the event began before he was able to participate as a driver; organisers’ records show that a Banstead Coaches employee first won the Coach Driver of the Year title in 1970, when H. Dulake was victorious.
Dudley spent his final day in Banstead’s yard ensuring that the operation was running smoothly, and that his treasured four-paw Bedford was exercised. “We can’t think of a better last day for him, surrounded by the things that made him happiest,” says Aimee.
“Dudley will be sorely missed by all of us. We have been overwhelmed by the support and comments from within the coach industry. He was a quiet man who kept to himself and worked hard, but he had no idea just how many people respected him.
“Team Banstead will continue in his honour.”