Britain’s oldest agent Joe Langdell has died after more than 50 years as a high-street travel retailer.
Joe, who was 92, was managing director and majority shareholder in Lancing Travel in Sussex and is thought to have been the country’s oldest working travel agent.
His granddaughter Cheryl and daughter Marolyn run the agency and his great-granddaughter Lauren works at the shop on Saturdays during her holidays from university.
Joe suffered a stroke while his granddaughter was at the Advantage travel agency conference in Malta and died in hospital on May 12. “When I left for the Advantage conference he was still in the office so he worked right up until the end,” she said. “He loved the girls in the shop and was well-known locally; we have a lot of people who have been coming to us for years.”
Joe spent every morning in the agency, answering the telephone and greeting customers. Joe set up Strand Travel Bureau in 1960 before buying further premises in the early 1960s which became Lancing Travel and started out selling mostly train tickets. In 1971 the agency launched its own tours to the US and up to 2005 Joe was still taking clients to Florida as part of the agency’s Go With Joe escorted tours.
Cheryl said Joe would be sadly missed by family, staff and customers. “He was a bit of legend and such a character,” she added.
When Travel Weekly last spoke to Joe, as he approached his 90th birthday, he said he had no plans to retire. At the time he said: “I am still slogging away and losing money but I get so much enjoyment out of what I do.”
Joe’s funeral will be held on Monday, May 21 at Worthing Crematorium at 1.40pm. Donations to children’s hospices Chestnut Tree House and St Barnabas House can be made vai the funeral directors at www.hdtribe.co.uk under his full name Joseph Langdell.
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