Sleaford coach firm is first from county to win at rally

Sleaford's A&P Travel celebrate their surprise award win.
Sleaford's A&P Travel celebrate their surprise award win.

A Sleaford-based coach company has become the first from Lincolnshire to win a top award at the UK Coach Rally.

A&P Travel took part in the 64th annual rally in Blackpool - and although they didn’t win the rally itself - they picked up Coach of the Year for their luxurious £328,000 Acron coach.

Managing director Paul Cartwright said: “I thought I had a good run yesterday so I was gutted to find myself down the table.”

Then, to his surprise, the stewards began hanging ribbons on his Van Hool TX16 Acron - which had just returned from a tour of Spain.

“I’m speechless,” said Paul. “I feel so privileged to have won. It’s just unbelievable.

“I was bullied into entering by the staff, and it’s the first time we’ve entered, though I’ve been going to the rally for 20 years.”

A&P Travel was established 12 years ago by Paul and his father, Alan, who is now 75: “I’ve been in the industry all of my working life,” said Paul. “I’m the third generation of Cartwright drivers.

A&P Travel runs an extensive tour programme with its five vehicles – all of them Van Hools. The luxurious 13-metre Acron is two years old and was built to order with 49 seats at a cost of £328,000.