Lodge Coaches’ support for High Easter sees firm scoop award at Uttlesford Business Awards

Host Steve Scruton with Essex Editor Will Lodge presenting Business in the Community award to Lodge

Host Steve Scruton with Essex Editor Will Lodge presenting Business in the Community award to Lodge Coaches at the Uttlesford Business Awards 2017. Picture: SAFFRON PHOTO - Credit: Archant

A family coach company running for three generations – and approaching its 100th anniversary – scooped the Business in the Community award at the inaugural Uttlesford Business Awards.

Lodge Coaches was chosen by the judges, who were impressed with the firm’s commitment to its home village of High Easter.

They praised moves such as hosting the village shop on its site, and paying to keep coaches out of the village during the day rather than exposing local residents to twice the number of vehicle movements – with any associated pollution that may occur.

Being part of the community is not a new thing, as one of the directors Robert Lodge explained.

“Each generation has taken active roles in village life, be it our grandfather when he was in the Home Guard, to the second and third generations who have given many years to the parish council and local clubs. We try hard to work within the community and 50% of our staff live within a five-mile radius of our base. We also support many clubs and charities.

“The company was started by Joseph Walter Lodge in 1920, who served in the Essex Yeomanry in the First World War and returned to High Easter with mechanical and driving skills learnt in the Army. He borrowed 7s/6d from his grandmother and, with his cousin, bought a Model T Truck which he converted to a six-seater bus for a service from High Easter to Chelmsford, and later Dunmow.”

The company still has a 1919 Ford Model TT in its vintage fleet, which runs alongside the latest executive coaches and vehicles.

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The firm employs 32 staff, including drivers, mechanics, office staff and three directors – and top customer service is the key to its success.

“The majority of our customers have been coming back for many years, while the vintage fleet now has a high profile in TV and film work – taking part in such shows as the Only Fools and Horses spin off and, for the last three years, the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run for BBC Children in Need,” added Mr Lodge. “To hear our name announced as the winner was a fantastic feeling, especially given the calibre of the other companies in our category.”

The directors – Robert, Andrew and Chris Lodge – hope the family tradition will continue.

The Uttlesford Business Awards were run by Archant, publishers of the Saffron Walden Reporter and Dunmow Broadcast.