AN ACCRINGTON coach firm’s vehicles were among around 400 to descend on London yesterday to raise awareness about the perilous state of the coaching industry and demand that the government provides help.

The sector has been hit hard by the coronavirus outbreak with restrictions on transport and the cancellation of school trips severely impacting profits.

Yesterday’s Honk for Hope rally follows on from similar events in Blackpool on July 14 and North Yorkshire on July 1.

Christine Dixon of Accrington-based Cranberry Coachways said: “We had up to 400 coaches spanning over five miles going through London - this has never been done before!

“Everyone’s on board, it's fantastic that all coach operators are pulling together to try and save our industry.”

Speaking about last week’s rally she said: “Our convoy to Blackpool last Tuesday was also a fantastic success - 250 coaches attended.

“We had people coming out from the hotels waving and clapping, people stopping to give us their support. It was one of the most fantastic sights I’ve ever seen and I’m so proud of the coaching industry for sticking together.”

The empty coaches from all around the country drove around central London including Westminster but did not park at any point in order to comply with regulations.

Ms Dixon said: “The Honk for Hope team who put so many hours in and in such a short time have done the most amazing job.

“Let's hope the government finally recognises the coach industry - they have given bus companies millions but nothing for the coaches.”

Confederation of Passenger Transport president Steve Whiteway said: “Coach operators across the country are understandably angry at the lack of support they have been offered to date.

“Many robust and viable businesses now face the very real threat of closure.”