D & E Coaches, the Highlands’ largest privately owned coach hire company, has signed a deal to sponsor ‘Beauty and the Beast’, the timeless classic for all the family, which is this year’s Eden Court pantomime.
And managing director Donald Mathieson, who founded the business with his wife Elizabeth 23 years ago, revealed that a D & E luxury coach will whisk the panto stars, including Belle and the prince trapped in a Beast’s body, to the children’s ward at Raigmore Hospital to give the boys, girls and nurses a laugh.
Mr Mathieson said:”We have enjoyed our best ever six months in terms of private hires and we’ve opted to put something back into the community by sponsoring the pantomime, which is always a side-splitting adventure for families from Moray to Caithness.
“We offer significant ongoing support the Archie Foundation which is why we insisted that our deal includes Beauty and the Beast stars, in costume, popping up to the hospital to play for the children.
“Our park and ride transporting of spectators to the European Pipe Band Championships at Bught Park proved highly popular and our private hire activity is going from strength to strength.”
Mr Mathieson added:”We’re currently busy transporting cruise liner passengers in record numbers. We collect them from Invergordon, Portree, Ullapool, Scrabster and Inverness Marina to take them to favourite Highland attractions such as Eilean Donan Castle, Dunrobin Castle, Loch Ness, Cawdor Castle and Culloden.”
Alison Logsdail, head of fundraising and philanthropy for Eden Court, said:”We’re delighted to have D & E Coaches on boards as the main sponsor of ‘Beauty and the Beast’.
“The pantomime is our biggest, most popular show of the year. Having the support of such a well-known, successful Highland business is really valuable and will help us to make ‘Beauty and the Beast’ an outstanding production.
“Thanks to D & E Coaches we have also managed to secure extra funding for ‘Beauty and the Beast’ from the Culture and Business Fund Scotland, which has matched their sponsorship.
“Work is already underway on sets, costumes, special effects and scripts so it really helps to have this funding in place now.”
Donald and Elizabeth’s three children – Gayle, Bryan and Amy – all work with D & E Coaches, whose new vehicles meet the latest environmental protection standards.