The founder of the first Scottish coach firm to win an industry ‘Oscar’ has spoken of his pride and delight on being presented the prize by a childhood crush.
Ross Prentice of Prentice Coaches, Haddington, was thrilled to receive the accolade at a ceremony in Birmingham from Maggie Philbin, the television presenter who found fame on Tomorrow’s World and Swap Shop in the 1980s.
Prentice Coaches won the Operator Excellence ‘Best Medium Sized Coach Operator of the Year’ Award, sponsored by Route One, making them the first Scottish coach company to achieve the accolade.
Mr Prentice, who co-founded Prentice Coaches with his father Don in 1991, said it was “a fantastic coming-of-age present” for the business during its 21st anniversary year.
And a kiss from Ms Philbin made it a perfect night.
Mr Prentice said: “It still hasn’t really sunk in. I couldn’t believe it when they called out our name as the winner. As far as we knew, a Scottish company had never won in this category and we were just thrilled to have been nominated and invited to the big night.
“Maggie Philbin appeared as a presenter unexpectedly and I couldn’t believe it. I have to admit I was obsessed with Tomorrow’s World and Swap Shop as a kid and thought she was great – so meeting her and receiving this award really made it a perfect night.”
He hailed the accolade as a testimony to his team of drivers and traditional values of politeness, reliability and professionalism.
The news comes as Prentice Coaches reports an indication of rising operating turnover and pre-tax profits, owing to the growing success of the firm’s expansion to bus services.
Councillor Michael Veitch, East Lothian Council’s transport spokesman, added: “This award is very well deserved. Prentice Coaches are a fantastic local firm and their high quality services are extremely popular with local people. They are a tribute to East Lothian and I warmly congratulate Ross Prentice and everyone involved.”
Pictured (left to right) - Mike Morgan, editor of Route One, Andrew Sanderson from Squire Sanders, Don Prentice, Maggie Philbin and Ross Prentice.