As Woods Travel was handed the award for Business of the Year today, July 22, managing director Roger Elsmere announced he was handing over the reins.
Having started the business in 1971, with late friend Bill Wood, the company has grown from two taxis to employing 45 and offering a ‘complete travel service’.
Speaking after announcing he was stepping aside, Mr Elsmere joked: “I promised myself, when I was 55 I would retire and I was only 15 years out.”
He added, while immediate plans include a well earned holiday to California, ‘I will still be on hand if they want me’.
Alison Waterfield-Jones, along with Mr Elsmere’s daughters Tina Shaw-Morton and Kristy Elsmere, will step up to the mark.
Ms Shaw-Morton said: “The three of us are excited to take the business forward, not necessarily to be bigger - we think we are big enough - but better. Doing a great job and continuing Roger’s legacy for another 45 years.”
Ms Waterfield-Jones added: “We will continue to do what we do best. Great service and a good local business.”
The award was the first of its kind from Bognor Regis Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
President Nick Stuart-Nicolson and MP Nick Gibb both mentioned it ‘felt like de ja vu’ as just last month they had gathered to award Woods the prestigious Britten trophy.
MP Nick Gibb said: “Can I congratulate you again Roger, it does feel like de ja vu. But it is worth celebrating, not just as an individual but as a business.
He added: “I have to say the only time I don’t get annoyed, when I am stuck in single lane traffic, is when it is because I am behind a Wood’s Travel bus.”