Coach Driver of the Year

23 January 2018

Miriam Unsworth - who's known by many of our regular passengers has been nominated by her husband Cliff (almost as famous) as the 2018 Coach Driver of the year.

Below are Cliff's initial submission and then a few testimonials from her colleagues and other people she works closely with.

I am nominating my wife Miriam for coach tour driver of the year.

Though she didn’t realise it then Miriam’s learning of the trade began on family holidays with her parents going on excursions from a Christian endeavour home in Conway and remembering the excursion leader’s commentary of North Wales.

In March 1976 Miriam and two other ladies passed their PSV driving test. It made the national and international news.

This March Miriam will have been driving coaches for 42 years.

We met in 1980 whilst both on tour in Bournemouth staying at the Manchester Hotel. We married in 1982 and Miriam became an integral part of our family coach & haulage business. Miriam was totally involved, even spending one night under a coach assisting fitting new cam followers to a Bedford YRT.

In those early years she drove everything from double deckers, Bedford Val’s, Leyland Leopards many without power steering or assisted brakes and clutches.

Miriam broke away from touring when our family was young, but kept in touch with the industry.

In 2002 a chance to drive an ‘Edinburgh Tattoo’ became available, she loved it and has never looked back.


  • Her quick reaction and calmness has saved the lives of two passengers having heart attacks on board the coach.
  • Was commended for her quick reaction and calmness as the first on scene when the coach in front was involved in an accident.
  • Miriam’s philosophy is that a passenger may have saved up all year for the one holiday and she doesn’t want to be the one to spoil it.
  • Miriam doesn’t take her problems to work, she always tries to be pleasant, helpful, jovial and professional, I know this because if anything winds her up I get the brunt off it in our nightly phone calls.
  • Miriam has toured every part of the British Isles, including I.OM. I.O.W. & Outer Hebrides.
  • On North Wales tours passengers regular comment that they have been coming here all their lives and never had so much information.
  • Miriam did a lot of tours at Gilsland Spa which takes in Hadriens wall, so early on she went out with a local coach driver and perfected her knowledge of the area.
  • She has a filling cabinet full of files covering everywhere she has toured, but now she uses the internet to research each tour she operates.
  • She has a fantastic memory and can read up on a subject or area and convey it to the passengers in a professional manner.
  • She is always willing to share and seek information and use local or city guides.
  • Miriam will provide her own entertainment including quizzes, piano playing or being the ‘fall guy’ for the resident comedian.
  • At each meal time Miriam checks around the dining room to make sure everyone is content, the passengers are reassured by her attention.
  • Miriam is a firm favourite with the blue badge guides she meets whilst working the Liverpool cruise ships.
  • All this being done whilst being a mother and Grandmother too.


From the Tynedale Hotel, Llandudno

Testimonial – Driver of the Year – Miriam Unsworth.

 ‘ Above & Beyond ’


The headline says it all... There are very few drivers in the same league as this lady, courteous, caring, professional, funny, an asset to the coach industry.

Our business operates with two coaches 50 weeks of the year and achieves a 97%  occupancy so we are in contact with a great number of drivers week in week out. However we are always over the moon when Miriam’s the tour driver,  guests arrive relaxed from there journey and in  good spirits and well informed of the hotel facilities, their holiday itinerary and what’s going on in Llandudno. Miriam really does her homework on the hotel and resort before each visit.

Miriam always enters into the spirit of the Themes at the hotel, she’s even made her own officers uniform for our cruise themed event. She also gives her customers regular tweets whilst on tour raising awareness of the area and actively selling future holidays.

Miriam is a truly outstanding ambassador to the coach tour industry and her driving skills, infectious personality, and caring nature along with her forward thinking can do attitude should be recognised by the Industry.

An absolute pleasure to work.

Best of luck

Nathan & Tracey Midgley

Tynedale Hotel Llandudno.


From one of her Colleagues

I have been asked to say a few words on behalf of Miriam Unsworth, regarding her entry in the coach driver of the year competition.

Miriam and I were colleagues at Ellen Smith Tours until my retirement last year for 12 years.  So what can I say? Was she a good driver technically?  Certainly!! But most drivers are!  Miriam stood out because of her wide range of abilities, indeed, almost the ideal tour driver.  Her knowledge of the UK was unsurpassed, as was her readiness to share this knowledge with anyone not so sure of themselves.  She has a good understanding of vehicles (her husband and son are both mechanics).  A necessary ability to deal with all the minor problems and crisis that occur on tour come naturally to her.

The final point I must make is her empathy and kindness to passengers which is unparalleled in my experience in the industry.  In retirement, should my wife and I decide to take a coach holiday I should be more than delighted for Miriam to drive us.

As she nears the end of her career as a tour driver, she will be sadly missed by all Ellen Smith clients who have become her friends!

I can think of no greater reward than that she be awarded the title of (Coach Driver of the Year).

Yours faithfully

R H Mayall




Comment on this post

Browse by Month