Closure of Grangemouth coach firm costs 37 jobs

The closure of Fitzcharles Coaches shocked staff and customers
The closure of Fitzcharles Coaches shocked staff and customers

Dozens of employees were shocked when they arrived to start their work and told they would be out of a job by the end of the day.

The bombshell was delivered to staff at Grangemouth company Fitzcharles Coaches on Friday.

A total of 37 people, drivers, mechanics and office staff were made redundant at 5pm after the business was officially closed.

Insolvency practitioner Nick Robinson confirmed Fitzcharles had ceased trading and will formally be placed in voluntary liquidation after a meeting with creditors expected to be held before the end of the month.

He said: “This is obviously a very difficult time for the staff and the owners.”

The company was one of the oldest and most respected family run businesses in the town.

It started off selling bikes to the community from a shop in Newlands Road in 1929 and launched its popular coach hire, package holiday and tour business from there in 1946.

Between them, director Ronnie Fitzcharles and his wife Brenda had over 100 years service with the company. The other director, Mr Fitzcharles’ sister, Mrs Olive King, has been involved for the last 37 years.

Mr Fitzcharles (66) said: “Friday was obviously a very sad day for the family and our workforce. There were a lot of tears, it was really heartbreaking.”

He said he had tried to sell the business to other coach firms a “number of times” over the last few years without success.

And he made it clear every customer who had paid for a coach holiday or tour later this year will be given all their money back.

Customers who were saving into the Fitzcharles Christmas Club to buy bikes have already been contacted and arrangements made for them to be collected.

Mr Fitzcharles added: “We are not a dishonest family. We have made sure everyone has been treated fairly just like I would expect to be treated fairly by people myself.”

The family has been “overwhelmed” by messages of support posted on their Facebook page - over 8000 since the news of the closure was announced.

He said: “There really has not been one bad comment. Many have expressed their shock at what’s happened but wished us all the best in the future and we really appreciate that.

“We would like to thank our loyal staff and customers for all their support over the years.”