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Southend family sell popular bus company business after 50 successful years

Decades - Peter Newman and son's Ross and Steve by an EnsignBus <i>(Image: Richard Delahoy)</i>
Decades - Peter Newman and son's Ross and Steve by an EnsignBus (Image: Richard Delahoy)

A FAMILY who have spent 50 years running the company behind Southend’s award-winning seafront open top bus tours are stepping down.

EnsignBus company was set up by Southend resident Peter Newman back in 1972, specialising in everything from bus routes and bus sales to sightseeing tours and vehicle restorations.

The family-run business is best known for its award-winning seafront bus tours in Southend, which they hope will continue after the firm was sold to First Bus Group.

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After being started by Peter, his wife Jill, son Ross, daughter-in-law Lorraine, son Steve, and daughter-in-law Helena, have all all been involved in the running of the business.

Yesterday, First Bus Group confirmed it has signed an agreement to purchase Ensign Bus Company Limited.

Peter Newman, EnsignBus chairman, said: “Firstly, I want to thank all of our employees at EnsignBus for their ongoing hard work to deliver great service for our passengers across all of our communities in Essex.

“It has simply been an incredible journey.

“Nothing lasts forever, and we wanted to bow out together having all been through so much as a family and team, that was very important to us.

“To leave something we have literally lived and breathed every single day for 50 years is incredibly hard and emotional.

“But without doubt the biggest single relief is to have a buyer who wants to build on everything we have done and take the business forwards on a scale we as a family cannot do.

“That has always been a key point for us when the time came for us to move on.

“I hope they can continue the legacy, and I have no reason to disbelieve them, that everything will continue as business as usual.

“I can’t speak for them in regards to the Southend 68 bus tour but I can’t see no reason why they won’t continue to run it, as it is successful and popular.”

The only part of the business that hasn’t been sold is the vintage buses, which the family say they hope to one day store in a museum.

Graham Sutherland, First Bus Group chief executive officer, confirmed EnsignBus employees would be welcomed to the group.

He said: “The acquisition of Ensignbus, a long-established, high-performing business, will allow us not only to grow our B2B offering but to also enhance our operational footprint in Essex, and we look forward to welcoming Ensignbus employees to the Group.”

The bus company also runs a number of bus routes across Thurrock.