Obituary: Norman Sanders, founder of Sanders Coaches, Holt
- Credit: Archant
Norman Sanders had a wife, six children and no money when he took over a bus company 41 years ago.
Hard work and commitment reaped dividends and today Sanders Coaches is a major employer and presence in north Norfolk, with 112 staff and a fleet of 87 vehicles.
Company founder Mr Sanders, who died on June 21, aged 85, was passionate about serving his community, and about ensuring people's transport links remained open.
He would often go out in his car to collect someone who had an urgent appointment but had missed the bus.
Born in Essex, Mr Sanders originally worked for British Rail but moved to Sheringham in 1968, on medical advice.
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He took a mechanic's job with Mascot Coaches, later Reynolds, at Cromer, where he learned to drive a coach, leaving in the summer of 1975 to join the five-coach business of Bennett's coaches at Holt.
A few months later owner George Bennett announced unexpectedly that he was going to retire, causing Mr Sanders much worry over his job and future income.
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Mr Bennett suggested that he take over the firm and pay him for it over time.
Mr Sanders accepted the keys to the firm on his 45th birthday and Sanders Coaches was born the next morning, December 1 1975.
By the year 2000 the company was operating nearly 100 vehicles, picking up rural routes dropped by other companies.
Mr Sanders hung up his driving gloves on his 80th birthday in 2010. All but one of his six children have worked for the family firm at some stage.
His son Charles is its current managing director, son Paul is operations director and daughter Helen still occasionally drives the buses.
He also leaves 17 grandchildren and four great grandchildren.
Funeral arrangements will be announced later.