Friday, 24 June 2016

All Aboard Their Very Own Bus

Some of De Courcey's refurbished personalised buses.

Coventry-based coach and bus company, Travel de Courcey have honoured local unsung heroes by naming 21 of their newly refurbished and refitted environmentally friendly buses after them. And the Words & Images UK Live team of Ann & Rob went along to watch the presentation.

The award-winning, family run Warwickshire travel firm of Travel de Courcey invited nominations for local heroes through a social media campaign. The selected men and women, from all walks of life have quietly dedicated their lives to helping others in the community through many different ways.

The naming of these buses is the icing on the cake after Travel de Courcey put in a successful bid to the Government’s Clean Vehicle Technology Fund, which provides grants for upgrading vehicles to reduce emissions in areas of poor air quality. The de Courcey team were thrilled when they were given a grant of £400,000.

With a mission to look after the environment as well as their customers and staff, the grant has enabled the company to refurbish and refit 21 of their buses with the very best systems to reduce emissions. The results are the equivalent to Euro VI – the lowest emissions criteria, making these vehicles environmentally efficient on emissions, and the cleanest buses in Coventry and the West Midlands.

Adrian de Courcey
The man behind this project is Adrian de Courcey, son of company founder Mike. And at a launch ceremony in the heart of Coventry recently, the 21 local heroes and their families came along to see their very own ‘green’ buses.

Adrian said, “The part I like is recognising people who have made a great contribution to the community. These are amazing people who have each done incredible work in the community. It’s great that 20 of them could make it here this morning. Sadly one of them is too ill to attend, but his family are here.”

Travel de Courcey began with just one coach and one bus 44 years ago, and has since grown to a fleet of 142 buses and coaches which work mainly locally and around the UK. During that time they have won numerous awards including being listed as one of the top 1000 companies to Inspire Britain for the last two years running; they have also won Best Coach Company of the Year, Green Company of the Year, Bus Company of the Year and Express Coach Operator of the Year in previous years plus many other accolades.

Adrian continued: “We are dedicated to the reduction of carbon emissions so getting this grant was fantastic, it was like winning the lottery! We’ve been able to put in the very best systems to reduce emissions in 21 of our buses.”

He explained that their partners are Avid Technology who have provided an Efan Micro Hybrid System which works to cool the engine. Basically it replaces the conventional engine cooling system. It reduces parasitic loads on the engine and allows operating temperature to be optimised and also reduces fuel consumption.

Mike and Adrian de Courcey

Their other partner is Eminox who provided a SCRT system. This is a conversion system that can be retrofitted to older vehicles to achieve emission reduction equivalent to Euro VI. Also this technology delivers primary NO2 reduction in excess of 95%.

“So each of our 21 vehicles has these on board,” Adrian continued. “We are very much aware of the importance of air quality and clean air. The hybrid systems within our new vehicles will make them quieter, with less vibration meaning less annoyance from heat and fumes inside and waiting alongside at stops. These systems have reduced emissions by 97%, so they are actually cleaner than a brand new car!

“This has really been a team effort. This is everybody driving forward. However, it couldn’t have been done without the brilliance of our engineer Craig Boiling. He’s the sort of person who, if you say it can’t be done, he’ll find a way to do it!”

The buses have also been complete refurbished. They have free 4G Wi-Fi and luxury seating. “We want to get more people on board we want to make the buses as good as possible,” said Adrian.

At the launch Councillor John McNicholas congratulated de Courcey for both providing such environmentally friendly vehicles, and for bringing these 21 individuals to the public eye. He said: “This is fantastic and significantly important. Congratulations to de Courcey for making 21 of their buses so environmentally efficient on emissions which will make a big difference to the air quality in the city. And congratulations to everyone who has had a bus named after them. These people are truly local heroes.”

Not all 21 buses could be taken out of service for the launch ceremony, and those people who didn’t get to see their own bus would be treated to individual meetings at their place of work over the next few weeks.

Amongst those honoured were: Archie Smith, Poppy Appeal organiser in Nuneaton who has raised over £50,000 a year for the last eight years – around half a million pounds altogether.

Geoff Grewcock also from Nuneaton has been rescuing injured and orphaned wildlife for the last 15 years. Constantly on call he has a wildlife sanctuary at his home which has seen more than 32,500 wild animals, birds and reptiles cared for over the years.

Janet Colgrave from Coventry has spent her life providing lunches and trips out for the elderly – and never one to miss an opportunity, pointed out that they are desperate for volunteer day drivers!

Merv Lawrence is a volunteer outside broadcaster for Anker Hospital Radio, and is constantly raising money for local charities.

Clair Roberts who has been volunteering with Coventry Mencap Wayfarers Club – for people with learning difficulties and families who need support with respite care of a family member. Clair said: “It’s appropriate that my bus is out working today. It’s just like us, always out there working!”

Saturday, 18 June 2016

In the Beginning...

It all began around 1990 when a writer (me, Ann Evans) met photographer/singer/drummer - Rob Tysall. Although usually he doesn't do all these things at the same time. However there have been occasions...

So, having caught the writing bug, I'd discovered that articles stood more chance of being accepted if you illustrated them with photographs.  And so we teamed up as Rob and Ann. That developed into Tysall's Photography and Ann Evans Books. Now that has morphed into Words & Images UK.

Since those early days, Rob has progressed from film to digital and Ann has progressed from quill to pencil!  We've covered topics as diverse as search and rescue on the forest covered slopes of Switzerland to tasting classic English cream teas; and from adventures on the Thames Estuary with the Marine Police to knitting.

Sharing with you our interviews and photographs of one of the times we went out with the Thames Marine Police to discover the fantastic work they do in keeping our country safe. Dogs Monthly magazine published a number of articles of our on this topic.

Enjoy the pics. These were from two different occasions.

Ann all set to go out with the Thames Marine Police.

The search dog is strapped to the handler to board the ship it has to search.

Safely back down.