Always curious about unusual holiday companies and the people who run them, Jennie Carr talked to Richard Clements, MD of English Holidays Cruises, which offers trips on the waterways of the Severn Vale.
As an ex-pat, returning to the UK in his mid-50s, Richard and his family bought a paddleboat, Oliver Cromwell, sleeping 56 people and the Edward Elgar, sleeping 22, moved to Worcester and started a new career in cruising! Richard told me life overseas had been exciting, so pottering on a golf course was unlikely to have been suitable long term.
He admits that running the company is hard work, sometimes having to dash across the country to find spare parts just hours before a sailing, or step in as captain or chef when a member of staff leaves unexpectedly. Sheer determination and the family pulling together has played a huge part in their success. Son, Jay, has studied marine engineering and hospitality, wife, Judith has run the galley and designs the interiors, whilst Richard calls himself the car park attendant, with financial and marketing duties!