Norwich-based firm, The UK Holiday Group, transported more than 500 members of the Royal Naval Association (RNA) in a fleet of coaches to a national memorial event recently in a fleet of 13 coaches – seven of which were provided by Coachleasing
The former naval services personnel travelled from across the UK and overseas to the National Memorial Arboretum (NMA) in Staffordshire to attend the dedication ceremony for a unique memorial
Called the Naval Service Memorial, the glass sculpture was commissioned by the RNA, which described it as the nation’s first “all-inclusive memorial”.
Prince Michael of Kent performed the ceremony in front of 1,500 veterans, many of whom took part in the ceremonial parade, on Sunday (15 June).
The UK Holiday Group sealed a deal earlier this year to provide bespoke holiday services to members of the Conference of Naval Associations (CONA) – a loose federation of like-minded naval associations, to which the RNA belongs.
Harold Burke, sales director at the UK Holiday Group, said: “This was a major national event and the transport logistics involved months of forward planning by our operations team and industry partners.
“We are grateful for the help and support of our coach operator partners and their drivers who were all excellent ambassadors for our industry.
“This was something that we, and most importantly, the RNA members recognised and appreciated.
“Throughout the whole weekend the RNA members were confident that there would always be a coach ready and waiting for them and it was a pleasure to see everything run so smoothly.” Harold said that the RNA brief was critical for us to ensure all their standard bearers and stewards arrived at the NMA, as a priority, in time for early morning meetings and rehearsals.
“This was implemented with military-like precision by our teams on the ground,” he commented.
“The weekend proved to be a huge success for our company, thanks to the tireless efforts and teamwork between our staff and the coach drivers whose efforts were recognised by the RNA members – who sang their praises throughout the weekend.
“The feedback we received throughout the weekend also told us that our new CONA Holiday Service, offering CONA members exclusive holiday savings, surpassed everyone’s expectations.”
The memorial was dedicated to those who served, serve today and will serve tomorrow in the Royal Naval Service.
It shows a limestone figure of a sailor, facing to the setting sun, with its head bowed in respect to shipmates.
The figure stands by 13 glass panels, which are like “sails of coloured glass” representing the oceans around the world.
Captain Paul Quinn, General Secretary of the RNA, told the BBC that the navy wanted to create “something for everyone”.
He said there was a collection of smaller naval memorials.
“[But] we didn’t have anything for the naval service, which is the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, the Wrens and the Royal Fleet Auxiliary,” he said.
Members of naval associations can find more information on holiday offers
by calling 0844 2642120 or emailing the CONA Holiday Service team at:
or see the website www.cona.org.uk
For CONA groups (10 or more people), call the Group Travel Hotline on 0844 2642122