South Kesteven District Council laid on a special welcome for a local coach company bringing its first passengers to Stamford Market since the coronavirus lockdown in March.

Cllr Rosemary Trollope-Bellew, Cabinet Member for Culture and Visitor Economy, was at the town’s bus station on Friday (20 July) to meet coach operator A&P Travel, bringing shoppers in on the company’s first socially distanced excursion.

She said: “We are extremely proud that we kept the market going in Stamford for essential food and supplies right through the pandemic, using barriers, signs and social distancing to keep everyone safe.

“I am delighted to see visitors start coming from further afield as our towns take careful steps on the path to retail recovery. We must not forget that the virus is still with us, but social distancing and a sense of responsibility towards each other now allow us to feel safer venturing out.

“The visitor economy is extremely valuable to the district, and, whilst observing Government guidance, we want to show that Stamford and the district as a whole are safe places to visit.”

Paul Cartwright is Director of A&P Travel, a small family company based near Sleaford. He said: “This pandemic flattened our business overnight with no coaches moving anywhere since March.

“Now, as lockdown restrictions ease and things begin to find their way back to some sense of normality, we are eager to let passengers enjoy the summer once again. We normally do around a dozen day excursions to Stamford during the year, which are always very popular, and we wanted to put on some trips within the county to get started again.

“We have taken all appropriate actions to ensure that our coaches are safe to travel on, followed government guidance and invested in measures to allow people to travel with confidence.”