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Tributes paid to Seaton Tramway chief

15:42 21 May 2014

Seaton Tramway chairman Trevor Shears OBE,  who has died.

Seaton Tramway chairman Trevor Shears OBE, who has died.

Archant

Tourist attraction’s chairman Trevor Shears OBE losses his brave battle with cancer

Tributes have been paid to Trevor Shears OBE, the chairman of Seaton Tramway who has died after a brave fight with cancer.

The former bus company boss and philanthropist passed away peacefully, aged 69, at his home in Newcastle on May 10, surrounded by his family.

He had been battling with metastatic liver cancer after it was diagnosed just earlier this year.

Born in Ilkley, West Yorkshire, Trevor began his career as a trainee chartered accountant in his home town of Bradford and in 1974 he entered the bus industry with Northern General Transport Company, moving to East Yorkshire Motor Services and returning to Northern General in 1979 to become the company secretary, then finance director.

It was during his time there that the bus industry was de-regulated, and became the Go-Ahead Group in 1987. The company floated on the stock market in 1994 and made Trevor a very wealthy man.

In 1996 he decided to retire and spend more time with his wife, Lyn, and with the Shears Foundation, a charity they had set up together to assist a range of educational, environmental, medical, social and arts projects to which the couple have donated more than half their wealth over the years.

Although Trevor’s home was in Newcastle, his great and life-long passion was for transport, and particularly Seaton Tramway with which he had a long and enduring relationship, visiting as recently as last month.

Having witnessed the catastrophic damage done to the track by the storms in February, Trevor’s last wish was to see how the repair work had been achieved and to see all his friends and colleagues one last time.

Managing Director, Jenny Nunn, said: “We were so impressed that he managed to do this as he was really very ill and travelling all the way from Newcastle was a tremendous feat. I know how much it meant to him to be able to make this journey and see everyone for the last time. He was an extremely savvy businessman and one of the Tramway’s most stalwart of supporters. He loved coming to Seaton, especially in August each year when he knew he had two whole weeks of bliss – driving trams! “Although it is a sad time for us, Trevor laid the foundations for the company’s future strategy and growth and it’s because of that we shall continue to be a successful and much-loved tourist attraction appealing to people from far and wide.”

In fact, Trevor first started at Seaton Tramway in the mid-seventies as a volunteer before being invited to join the board in 1989. He later became chairman but in the early noughties it was mainly at his instigation that the company designed, built and invested in three new additions to the Tramway fleet in order to meet the increased flow of visitors. In 2010, the company celebrated 40 years of operation at Seaton and it was Trevor’s honour to take pride of place, alongside Brotherhood of Man on top of tram 12, in thanking the people of Seaton for all their support and good wishes over the years - It is with this vision that the company has grown to be a major tourist attraction in East Devon today, attracting more than 90,000 visitors each year. Trevor is survived by his wife, Lyn, his two children from his first marriage, Amanda and Richard, his two step children, Mark and Louise, and seven grandchildren.

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