Messengers Coaches set to close

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Messengers Coaches of Mealsgate, near Wigton, is to close at the end of May.

Owners Liam and Angie Walker decided to wind-up the business they bought from the Messenger family in June 2005.

Messengers currently provides transport to schools in Wigton, Bothel, Maryport, Cockermouth and Keswick. It has given notice on the contract to Cumbria County Council. Three full-time and 10 part-time staff will lose their jobs, although the Walkers said two of the full timers have already found new work. The firm’s fleet of 12 vehicles will be sold.

Mr Walker said: “We are doing this for a combination of business and personal reasons.

“Messengers was never intended to be a long-term arrangement. We had a 10-year plan to increase the asset value of the business by upgrading the fleet, which we’ve done, and we’re eight years into that.”

Mr Walker works full time at Innovia Films in Wigton where he is responsible for the power plant operation and a team of engineers. He added: “I can’t give enough of my time to Messengers and it’s too much for my wife on her own.

“The fuel price increases have hit us hard and insurance has gone up dramatically. It’s a sad day.”

He said the couple had been advised by their accountant to cease trading and sell the vehicles, rather than attempt to sell the business as a going concern.

However this is not the end of the couple’s involvement in the coach and bus industry, who said they are to launch a smaller coach operation initially with one 16-seater mini- coach. This will trade as Walkers of Carlisle from their home in Warwick Road. It is likely to employ some of the part-time drivers from Messengers.

Mr Walker added: “We are very excited by this new opportunity, which will provide luxury travel for excursions, airport transfers, corporate work etc. Indications are that there is strong demand for this niche market.”

Mrs Walker said she had been “overwhelmed” by the support from customers.