After 49 years and around 1.4 million miles, Trevor Thorn has retired from coach driving. For years Trevor’s skills at handling coaches in the most awkward of places without fear or a scratch has been legendary.
Although driving for various customers, Trevor gained a name as being The Salvation Army’s coach driver. Hadleigh Temple sections have enjoyed over a hundred trips with him at the wheel, added to which nearly the same number serving the International Staff Band and International Staff Songsters and various trips for Salvation Army groups visiting from overseas. Americans, Canadians, Australians, Swedes and South Africans have all benefited from his cheery disposition in the driving seat.
And his influence spread even further, having made some 300 trips carrying officers from all over the world attending the International College for Officers. His final trip as a coach driver was for the ICO on 7th September 2013 at the end of which he was honoured for his service to the ICO.
The following Sunday, he received a certificate of appreciation from his own commanding officer, Major David Woodman on behalf of Hadleigh Temple. Trevor has calculated that as a coach driver, he has visited 250 different corps in the UK and 50 in Europe. He has visited the Founder’s birthplace in Nottingham some 79 times… and that’s just with ICO delegates.
79 year-old Trevor mused “I have cleaned my last coach”, referring to the fact that after dropping off all his passengers, his duties included cleaning the vehicle ready for the next journey.
Trevor’s career in coaches stemmed from his love of driving. At the age of 30 he got a job driving coaches for Kirby’s of Rayleigh. Whilst worshipping at Rayleigh Evangelical Church, he became involved in the Sunday-school and bought a 29-seater so that he could ferry the children around as necessary. This eventually led to him running his own coach hire business with a small fleet of vehicles. His first trip as owner of the company, which he ran for 24 years, was taking Hadleigh Temple Songsters to Herne Bay in 1967.
Trevor’s skills were not appreciated only by Salvationists. One of the major European coachworks, Van Hool of Belgium, used his expertise to help design vehicles. It was Trevor’s idea to have a convertible toilet, so if the WC was not needed, it could be folded down and four extra seats placed on top of it.
Now he plans to sit back and let someone else do the driving.