Obituary – Norman J Sanders

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Norman Sanders, the founder of respected Norfolk independent operator Sanders Coaches, has passed away after a short illness.

A service for the celebration of his life will be held at The Lighthouse Baptish Church,

Cromer Road, Sheringham, Norfolk on Thursday, July 21 at 1430hrs.

Born in Woodford, Essex in 1930, Norman worked as a steam fitter on British Rail for many years. After the change to diesel traction in the early 1960s, he was retrained, but found the fumes caused him illness. The family GP suggested a new start, so in 1968 the family moved to Sheringham, North Norfolk where they had enjoyed many holidays.

Norman took a job with Mascot Coaches at Cromer as a mechanic – where he first learnt to drive a coach.

After Mascot was taken over by Reynolds Coaches in summer 1975, Norman left Reynolds to join the five-coach business of Bennett’s Coaches at Holt. George Bennett unexpectedly told Norman in October of the same year he was going to retire. George then said: “Look Norman, you seem to know what you’re doing why don’t you take it over?” Norman, who had six children at home, said he couldn’t afford to, but George offered to complete the transaction on the basis of ‘pay as you go.’

On Norman’s 45th birthday at the end of the day, he was handed the keys of the six vehicles and Sanders Coaches was born the next morning on December 1, 1975. By the year 2000, the company was operating close to 100 vehicles.

Norman was passionate about serving his local community and ensuring people’s transport links remained open. He was often to be found out in his car collecting someone who had mistakenly missed the bus and had an important appointment.

Norman hung up his driving gloves on his 80Th birthday Nov 30, 2010.

He leaves six children, 17 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.