Family celebrates four decades in business

A North Devon family coach business is still going places after 40 years.

Taw and Torridge Coaches celebrates its 40th anniversary on Saturday to mark four decades of getting tens of thousands of local people from A to B and back again.

From school runs and private hire to dream European holidays and day trips, the ever-expanding company continues to thrive.

It was set up in 1976 by Tony Hunt, his father John, and Sid and Charlie Hookway, building on the family's success running school buses out of their AMG Coaches business at Merton.

Today it has depots in Merton and Barnstaple, with a fleet of 76 vehicles and 96 employees on the books.

It took over Loverings Coaches of Combe Martin in 2004 and in 2011 purchased South Molton based TW Coaches.

Another acquisition, the SwanTours sector of the business, offers luxury holidays throughout the UK and Europe.

There is also a fleet of eight-seater vehicles available for airport shuttle runs, plus numerous vintage cars and an OB Bedford bus available for hire for weddings, prom nights and parties.

A family business

Tony is managing director, his wife Linda is company secretary, daughter Tracey Laughton is tour director, son Mark is operations director and Tracey's husband Chris is engineering director.

Tony said: "I left school in 1965 and went straight in to my father's business at Merton Garage. At the time they ran three school buses, a car repair and MOT garage, which we still run today.

"I've not known anything different and this has been passed on to my family.

"On the whole it has been very good to us and I still enjoy going to the depot at 7am and leaving there at 6pm at night."

Family values are hugely important and the company takes care to look after both clients and employees, allowing it to expand and grow with confidence.

On Saturday, family, friends, customers and suppliers will gather at Barnstaple Hotel to celebrate the milestone.

They have also taken delivery of two brand new Mercedes coaches.

Tony added: "We put £1million a year into the frontline fleet so that we are the leading operator in the county.

"At Taw and Torridge Coaches, and with SwanTours, we continue to expand horizons, looking to the future for ways in which we can improve upon all aspects of the business."