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Diss bus drivers head to London to fulfil Olympic contract

PUBLISHED: 06:30 19 July 2012 | UPDATED: 09:15 24 July 2012

Simonds coach drivers Kevin Halil (L to R) Darren Tull, Lee Turner, Ian Yearley, Tony Keeble, Dale Evans, Tim Pharoah and Michael Gardiner who are off to drive athletes and official at the Olympics

Simonds coach drivers Kevin Halil (L to R) Darren Tull, Lee Turner, Ian Yearley, Tony Keeble, Dale Evans, Tim Pharoah and Michael Gardiner who are off to drive athletes and official at the Olympics

Archant

Eight drivers from a Norfolk coach company departed for a three week stay in London yesterday after their firm secured a prestigious Olympic contract.

Officials from Simonds of Botesdale, which is based in Diss, said they were the only bus company in Norfolk to secure a contract with the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG).

The coach business is providing four vehicles for the Olympic Park at Stratford and eight drivers who will be transporting people around the site.

Martyn Simonds, managing director of Simonds, said they were making up a large pool of coaches next to the main Olympic site that will be ferrying around athletes, members of the media and VIPs to different venues at the park.

“Some companies may have been contracted by First or Stagecoach, but we are the only coach company in Norfolk working directly with LOCOG. The hoops have been endless, but we are privileged to receive a contract,” he said.

The company, based in Oak Drive, Diss, have had to cover up their name on the coaches because of Olympic sponsorship rules.

However, the distinctive painted leaves on their coaches will remain. The firm was started more than 85 years ago and employs 92 people.

Mr Symonds added: “It is a very prestigious thing and the drivers have volunteered in certain respects to carry it out. It has been a real team effort over the last two and a half years by everyone.”

Businesses in the East have secured more than 400 contracts worth more than £1bn for London 2012.

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