Double Award for Johnson Family

Date Added 09/05/2017

Double Award for Johnson Family

Joan Johnson took home the gold award for ‘Unsung Hero’ at the UK Coach Awards on Thursday 4th May 2017 and her grandson Richard Johnson took home the gold award for ‘Young Coach Industry Professional’ for his work at our sister company Whittles Coaches.

Known as ‘the Mother of the business’ 80 year old Joan has been involved in the business for over 60 years, becoming one of the first female coach drivers in the UK. She subsequently became a courier, very popular with customers and having escorted over 350 tours worldwide.

Of all the places in which she has stayed with groups, Joan cites the Atlantic Hotel on the Isles of Scilly as her favourite. Her latest stay there was last year, probably her 40th trip with a group.

Joan Johnson on her last tour

The judges felt that clearly having made such an outstanding contribution to Johnsons Coaches for over 60 years, Joan is the epitome of an unsung hero and a deserved winner of this award.

Joan also won the ‘Services to the Industry’ award at the recent British Coach Tourism Awards in March. Joan has been unwell recently, so was unable to collect both awards, but her family were there to collect on her behalf and present to her in her home the next day.

Johnson family picking up Joan Johnson's award

Richard wins gold

As Assistant Manager of Kidderminster based Whittles Coaches, Richard Johnson is no stranger to the coach industry as he is the fourth generation of the Johnson family from Johnsons Coach & Bus Travel. He joined the team at Whittles Coaches when Johnsons acquired the company in 2015. Since then, Richard has hit the ground running, learning many complex tasks and processes and also rescuing the reputation of the Whittles brand which as at an all-time low.

Through driver mentoring, building customer relationships and office management, Richard has increased sales and helped to put Whittles Coaches firmly back on the map. It is Richard’s industry passion and drive that really sets him apart though. He is a great ambassador for the company whether he is welcoming a new client to the office, visiting travel agents, attending an industry exhibitions, or even driving the coach. His enthusiasm and welcoming personality is a key motivator for the company.

The judges were extremely impressed with how Richard has revitalised Whittles Coaches, working through every aspect of the business including mentoring drivers and building relationships with customers leading to increased sales.

Richard was presented the award by Carol Kirkwood from BBC Breakfast in front of an audience of 250 industry professionals in a glittering ceremony at Manchester’s Mecure Piccadilly Hotel on Thursday 4th May 2017. Richard was also on hand to collect a very special award for his Nan, Joan Johnson.

Richard Johnson picking up Young Coach Industry Professional award

Congratulating all the winners, UK Coach Awards chairman John Gilbert said, "Our awards recognise and reward excellence and good practice at all levels in the industry, amongst all operators, large or small."

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