Paul Acklam, Managing Director of Beverley-based Acklams Coaches, has died after a short illness. He was 72.
Known for his smile and jovial manner, Mr Acklam led the East Riding operator, founded by his father in 1952 as Alpha Taxis, from those beginnings first into minibuses and later into large coaches. In more recent years, he oversaw further development of the business that resulted in the multifaceted, award-winning organisation it is today.
Mr Acklam also contributed greatly to the wider industry through his involvement with the Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT), where he had served as Yorkshire Regional Chair and as a member of CPT’s Coach Commission. He was a regular attendee of industry gatherings, where Acklams’ appetite for new vehicles has seen its coaches take pride of place on manufacturers’ stands at trade shows on more than one occasion.
After the dawn of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mr Acklam and his son Alan – who is also a Director of the business – were highly active in efforts to convince the government to offer sector-specific support to coach operators. Their engagement with local MP Emma Hardy saw her quickly become the industry’s arch political ally, exemplified less than two weeks after Mr Acklam’s death when she once again called upon ministers to help.
Contrasting with its beginning as a taxi company and subsequently with a restricted O-Licence, Acklams now has interests in a variety of sectors, including tours and holidays, private hire, professional sports team and supporter movements, contracts and bus work.
The business is also noted for it successful ‘coaches to concerts’ programme, while it has donated two vehicles to the Jacob’s Well charity in Africa. In the aftermath of the 2017 Manchester terror attack, Acklams gave to an emergency fund the revenue it received from 60 passengers who travelled with it to a subsequent benefit concert.
CPT Regional Manager (North of England) Andrew McGuinness has paid tribute to the support that Mr Acklam provided to fellow coach operators regionally and nationally. Mr McGuinness describes Mr Acklam as “a true ambassador” for the industry. “But above all, he was a great person and a true gentleman.”
Mr Acklam is survived by his wife Jo and children Alan, Brian and Fay. His funeral will take place on Thursday 10 February at 1130hrs at Beverley Minister, 38 Highgate, HU17 0DN. It will be followed by a reception at Beverley Cricket Club, Recreation Park Lane, HU17 9HW. His family have extended an invitation to colleagues within the industry to attend.