Just the ticket to celebrate 90 years in business

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AN OPEN day at a long established coach firm was just the ticket to celebrate its 90th year in business.

Rambler Coaches based in Whitworth Road, off Junction Road in St Leonards first opened in 1924.

It now employs 45 staff and runs 36 coaches from its depot.

Good Friday marked the 90th year since the firm ran its first charabanc trip to Bodiam Castle, the start of the business.

Richard Rowland founded the company in 1924, and today his son Colin Rowland and business partner John Goodwin own a smart fleet of coaches whose green, black and cream livery are a familiar sight on the roads of Britain and Europe.

Local people and bus and coach enthusiasts from far and wide attended their birthday party open day last Friday.

There were rides on an open top London bus, a cavalcade of vehicles around the town and the Mayor of Hastings Alan Roberts paid a visit to inspect the depot and cut the birthday cake.

Funds were raised from a £1 entrance fee in an honesty box for homeless charity Emmaus.

Mr Rowlands said: “We’ve come a long way since we opened in 1924.

“It was pretty crude in those days, there was no roof and it was basically a glorfied car.

“As the industry expanded we were one of 30 tour firms offering trips out of Hastings seafront.

“We did well up until the early 1970s when the cheap package holiday trips to Spain started.

“But when one door closed another one seemed to open as all the language students started to come here.

“It has been very hard work running the business but we’ve survived three recessions and just keep on going.”