FOR more than 40 years Wendy and Roger Stittle have been getting up at 5am to make sure the children get to school on time.
Over so many years they and their company, Cuttings Coaches, have taken thousands of youngsters to school, including the children of children who had used their school runs.
But now the couple are retiring and their company based in Brockley, near Whepstead, is closing down.
Cuttings Coaches was started in 1963 by Wendy’s parents George and Nancy Cutting. Wendy and Roger joined the company in 1969 and went into partnership with the Cuttings in 1970.
They took over its running when the Cuttings retired and, now, they too are retiring with Wendy at 63 and Roger at 65.
The family firm has specialised in school runs and private hire with the Cuttings and Stittles all driving vehicles. At its busiest, it had 13 vehicles, five employees and a few part timers.
Roger said the last five school runs they were doing had all been taken over by other school bus contractors.
“I shall miss some of the friendly faces and the chat,” he said. “You form friendships with people you see regularly.
“In some cases we’ve taken whole families to school.
“People have looked upon us as taking care of their children. Wendy has been like a mother hen to her children and they appreciate that.”
The Stittles have been touched by the number of cards, gifts and good wishes they have had from schools, parents and members of the public and wanted to thank all their well wishers.
Roger reckons it may take them a while to get out of the 5am habit.
He added: “We’ve no plans for retirement at the moment.
“I’ve got my last job on Saturday then we’ll have three weeks to prepare for the sale of garage equipment we’re having on May 21 at the yard.
“Then who knows what’s going to happen?”