‘My heart says carry on but my head says take it easy’ - Norfolk coach firm to close after cancer diagnosis

Charles Reynolds who has made the difficult decison to close Reynolds Coaches in Caister after more

Charles Reynolds who has made the difficult decison to close Reynolds Coaches in Caister after more than 100 years. Picture: James Bass - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2012

The head of Norfolk’s oldest family-run coach business has spoken of his heartbreak as more than a century of travel comes to an end next month.

Charles Reynolds said it was time to think of himself and his wife after a bombshell cancer diagnosis last year and calls for him to “take it easy.”

The 62-year-old is the third generation to take the wheel at Caister-based Reynolds Coaches, running a fleet of 20 coaches all famously named after members of his family or special nominated VIPs.

Mr Reynolds said: “My heart is saying carry on but my head and all the advice says to take it easy.”

An auction is likely to take place at the Caister site in August.

Mr Reynolds said that it wasn’t what he wanted or expected but hailed the loyalty of staff and customers over the years.

He said medics had “done a good job” on him and that treatment looked to be working and his prognosis much improved.

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“I have had some scans and x-rays and things look to be on the right track,” he said.

“But physically I am not what I was six months ago and working 80 to 90 hours a week as I normally do is not conducive to my health.

“I have no successor and I simply cannot carry on running this as it is.

“It was a decision I did not want to make but I have to be fair to my wife and my family and to myself. But I am staying in politics.”

The company was set up by Mr Reynolds’ grandfather, a builder and haulier who started off with horses and carts.

It shrunk to virtually nothing during the Second World War but bounced back under the care of Mr Reynolds’ parents.

He first remembers being involved in the business as a six year old manning the petrol pumps.

He delivered the news to staff this week and said he had had some lovely messages of support.

“There are literally dozens of people that I talk to as friends on the phone that I have never met in person but those relationships have built up and we have always tried to do our best.

“Everything comes to an end. It is heartbreaking for me after three generations and over 100 years.

“I shall miss it terribly and miss my staff and customers, but it is time for me.”

The company employs some 21 people during peak periods.

It has been ferrying children to and from school for decades and will honour its 14 Norfolk County Council contracts until the end of July.