Founder of Irving’s Coaches, Robert ‘Bobby’ Irving, has died aged 80. The company which he started in 1965 today operates 13 vehicles, with the latest – a 2016 VDL Futura – proudly wearing a 50th anniversary livery.
In a statement on its Facebook page, the company said: “Mr Irving founded Irving’s Coach Hire back in 1965, which started as Irving’s Minibus Hire in Canal Yard and gradually took shape over the next 50 years to the successful business that it is today.
“As the company grew, Mr Irving moved to Jesmond Street and acted with great inspiration for the people of Carlisle when he started his own day trips. In the late 1960s and early 70s, not many were lucky enough to own a car, so opted for a day trip on the coach instead.
“Apart from his coach business, Mr Irving had a love of motorbikes – which is where his distinctive orange livery originated, as one of his well-loved motorbikes was painted the same colour.
“Mr Irving was heavily involved in the day-to-day operation with the support of his late business partner Mr Bell, former director Mrs Joan Harvey and granddaughter Amy – now Managing Director of the company.
“Mr Irving enjoyed driving his distinctive orange coaches, whether it be on a London weekend or school run, until sadly his health deteriorated over the last few years when he needed to have kidney dialysis.
“The Irving family have been of true support in looking after Mr Irving and keeping him comfortable, as have the team at the Cumberland Infirmary dialysis department.
“A very brave man. It is now time for him to rest in peace. Our thoughts are with all of the Irving family at this very sad and difficult time and we would like to thank you all for your support.”