End of an era for owner of Banbury's Star UK Travel business

Long-time Banbury business owner - Ronnie Johnson - reflects on 40 years after shop closure

Friday, 23rd July 2021, 1:09 pm
Updated Saturday, 24th July 2021, 9:02 am
Star UK Travel won at the Banbury Guardian Business Awards in 2008

Ronnie Johnson has been a familiar face for 40 years, meeting, greeting and organising trips for hundreds of thousands of holidaymakers and daytrippers.

But after organising thousands of tours, entertainment packages and excursions across the UK and beyond, Ronnie Johnson is hanging up his clipboard and saying farewell to the coach tour industry. He will be looking for new projects within the travel world.

Ronnie has been at the helm of a number of travel businesses over the years culminating in the final 15 years as owner of Star UK Travel in Banbury's town centre.

The grand opening of new offices in Parsons Street Banbury in 1994.

He said: "It is going to be so very sad to leave the many friends I’ve made over these many years, but all in all I’m left with many superb memories. To be honest I am humbled at the tremendous support I have received from the locality.

"It’s incredible that I meet clients in Banbury walking along with their grandchildren and I can remember when they travelled with me as teenagers to the likes of Spandau Ballet, Tears For Fears, Duran Duran and The Jam to name but a few.

"It’s been an amazing journey, and I am so proud of what I achieved along with the many fantastic members of staff that have helped me to reach for the stars. Due to their wonderful support and commitment we were fortunate to win many travel and business awards, nationally and locally.

"The events that stand out in my memory was Live Aid at Wembley Stadium in 1985, the opening of the Channel Tunnel in 1994, which is surely one of the wonders of the world and a tremendous engineering achievement, plus tours to the magical world of Disneyland Paris giving families the chance to be enchanted by the superb atmosphere."

Ronnie gained the greatest pleasure from in the earlier years prior to the internet explosion of organising concert tours for many of his clients to see their heroes - from Take That, Boyzone, Spice Girls, U2, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Daniel O’Donnell and the Peter Pan of pop Cliff Richard.

He added: "It’s been great to have seen the excitement and anticipation of so many people, young and old alike, as they depart Banbury on board the coach heading for the concert venue."

Mr Johnson has put together coach holiday tours for all over the UK, and due to the age of travellers with many being 70 or older he felt a true responsibility to ensure the product was suitable and of a high standard to ensure a 'Happy Client' and ongoing repeat business.

He will retain his company Star UK Travel, and will be looking for a fresh challenge in the leisure industry and will look at local charity and community efforts for the future.

He said: "It’s been a roller coaster ride at times, but one I always enjoyed and sincerely hope I put a smile on many faces over the last 40 years."