Confidence at 50

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Renowned Leicester independent Confidence is celebrating its 50th anniversary with a book. Unfortunately, due to lockdown, the intended display of eight past and present Confidence vehicles to celebrate the half century at Quorn & Woodhouse Vehicle Rally on 25 April did not go ahead as the event was cancelled.

Confidence of Leicester is turning 50, and is celebrating with a book. NICK LARKIN
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This would have included the first ever bus operated by Confidence, former Southdown Guy Arab PUF 647, and another feature of the fleet for many years, former Southdown Leyland PD3/4 ‘Queen Mary’ BUF 272C.

The book has now appeared. A joint collaboration between author Simon Gill and Confidence founder Ken Williams, who still runs the company, the book tells the story of the company and its vehicles as well as Ken’s fascinating life in the industry.

Meanwhile, Confidence and its 25 or so vehicles are back in action, including the Midlands’ oldest known double-decker in normal service, 1982 new to West Yorkshire Leyland Olympian UXX 8X. Ken reckons the Olympian is the best ever double-decker for operators and five are still retained.

“As we said we didn’t turn a wheel during lockdown, but at least the wheels haven’t come off,” joked Ken. “We have had to live off our fat though and times are hard for operators.”

Even one of the biggest aspect of Confidence’s business, providing buses for funerals of members of the Leicester ethnic community, has ended due to restrictions on numbers of people at such events.

Leicester’s Oadby Manor High School was one of the first schools to reopen in England, the day before other schools, and a Confidence Volvo B7TL achieved national fame when it went past during a broadcast from outside the school on national ITV News on Wednesday 26 August.

“Perhaps Confidence was the first operator in England to start operating when schools reopened,” Ken suggested.

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