Dunmow coach firm marks landmark anniversary with open event
PUBLISHED: 08:28 12 September 2019 | UPDATED: 08:28 12 September 2019
A Dunmow coach firm celebrated 70 years of the wheels going round and round at an open day.
Don's of Dunmow was founded by Don Hale, a D-Day veteran who served in the Essex Yeomanry, and upon returning from the war, bought two pre-owned taxis and set up his business next to a garage run by a relative in Little Canfield.
The open day, held on August 31, was attended by about 300 people, with coaches, some of them still owned by the firm, dating back to the 1940s on display, as well as a raffle, a tombola and a barbeque.
The event raised nearly £1,800 for Cancer Research UK, and, thanks to a top-up from the company, the sum has now reached £2,000.
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Managing director Steve Harvey's relationship with the company goes back to his childhood, as his mother used to be a director. He remembers washing the vehicles down after school and he later joined the company as an apprentice.
Steve, now 50, said: "Cancer Research UK is a charity close to our hearts, because we lost three of our staff to cancer in the last five years. The day had a really nice, friendly atmosphere. We have had nothing but positive feedback. We had some really kind generous donations.
"People were buying cups of tea for a really small price and were giving us £5. I would like to thank everyone involved for their help in making the day such a success. Thank you for all the donations."
From two pre-owned Packard taxis, Don's of Dunmow now runs a fleet of 29 vehicles and has 16 staff on the roll.
Speaking about the company's milestone, Steve said: "I feel very proud. I think it is a good achievement for Don's Coaches. Everything we are is based on what Don created and we have just carried on the same way. If it isn't broken don't fix it."
Don's of Dunmow moved from the Little Canfield site to North Street, in Dunmow, and now operates out of Parsonage Downs.