Crowland coach hire firm to close on May 1 after more than 20 years of service and support
A Crowland coach firm is setting out on its last-ever trips after nearly 25 years.
Tourmaster Coaches is closing its doors on May 1 due to health issues affecting co-founder and director Dave Dinsey.
In order to care for Dave, wife and co-founder Terri Dinsey made a decision last Tuesday that Tourmaster would no longer trade after April 30.
Terri, who employs seven drivers and a mechanic, said: "The lads have been absolutely amazing and they've pulled out every stop possible to help me.
"I couldn't have asked for a better team but I just decided that my husband's health was more important than the business.
"Everything is going on as normal until April 30, any jobs or private hires that have already been booked in will be honoured and we'll be trading right up until the end."
Dave and Terri launched Tourmaster in 1996, initially with help from fellow coach operator Andrew Fowler, of Holbeach Drove-based Fowlers Coaches.
"We bought a 21-seater in 1998 after hiring larger coaches off Andrew for a while," Terri said.
"Then we progressed and built up the business over the years to where we are now.
"We've been the official transport provider for Forever POSH, the official supporters' club for Peterborough United, Peterborough Phantoms ice hockey team and Peterborough Rugby Club.
"There have been so many highlights over the years, including Peterborough United using Tourmaster for its end-of-season presentations."
Terri confirmed that all her staff have new jobs to go to after their work at Tourmaster ends next month.
"The fact they have all found jobs makes me so happy because the one thing I didn't want was for any of them to have been out of work," Terri said.
Messages of appreciation for Tourmaster Coaches and its founders, Dave and Terri Dinsey, have come from Crowland and beyond.
Andrew Fowler, director of Fowlers Coaches, of Holbeach Drove, and a friend of the Dinseys, said: "We've gone out as friends, have bounced ideas off other and helped each other out, something that's quite unusual in the coach operations world.
"I'd also like to pay tribute to their staff who have been tremendous for Dave and Terri.
"We shall continue to carry on helping them and I wish Dave all the best."
Coun Bryan Alcock, parish and district councillor for Crowland, said: "It's very sad to see a local business go and equally sad that it appears to be as a result of ill health.
"The loss of a local employer and the jobs they create is of great regret, especially as it is unusual to have a bus company in a small community.
"One can only hope that another entrepreneur will see the opportunity as Tourmaster Coaches has served a wide range of local needs over many years and it will be missed.
"My thanks and best wishes go to Dave and Terri Dinsey."
Coun Nigel Pepper, county councillor for Crowland, said: "I have known both Dave and Terri Dinsey since they first moved to Crowland many years ago.
"Between them, they have built up a successful coach company in Crowland from humble beginnings of owning just one mini-bus in 1998 to having a company with a large fleet of luxurious coaches today.
"Tourmaster has served both the community and clients further afield well, not only with transportation but in providing local employment too.
"They have both endured stresses and strains over the years and overcome many hurdles while running this growing, successful business.
"But they have always put their customers first and maintained the highest of standards throughout.
"It is always sad to see a local business close its doors but even more so a business of this nature which many had come to rely upon, including schoolchildren, football teams and supporters, ice hockey and rugby teams, as well as the general public.
"On behalf of the community, I would like to thank them for the first class service they have provided and wish them the well-earned rest they both deserve."