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Sky's the limit as bus man Paul takes off.

HE'S the bus boss who is flying high.

Because Paul Cox, Finance Director of Travel West Midlands, is a keen glider pilot.

He finds that being up, up and away above the congested roads of the Midlands is the perfect way to relax.

Paul, aged 36, looks after the finances of Britain's biggest single-fleet bus company, with a pounds 175 million annual turnover, 2,300 buses and 5,300 employees.

He is based at the Travel West Midlands headquarters in Birmingham city centre.

Paul, born in Chester and brought up in East Anglia, graduated in accounting and computer science from the University of Kent in Canterbury.

He joined the bus company from motor retailers Mann Egerton nearly four years ago, and was promoted from Financial Controller to Finance Director in September 1996.

He has played a key role in recent company takeovers - including the Belgian company Bronckaers - as Travel West Midlands continues to expand.

In his spare time, he is a member of Bidford Gliding Club at Bidford-on-Avon, Warwickshire.

He owns a single-seater Schemph-Hirth Standard Cirrus glider.

Paul, who lives at Alvechurch, Worcestershire, said: "I normally drive to work, although I often come in by train. From time to time, I also 'walk the job' by travelling by bus.

"But I love to go gliding. It is so relaxing and yet so challenging.

"I started gliding when I was 16 but had a rest in my 20s and only took it up again recently."

Paul has had a few hairy moments up aloft. Once, he was forced to land on playing fields because of bad weather.

On another occasion, he had to put down at an RAF station near Cambridge.

While he was given a warm welcome on his unscheduled arrival, his aircraft was impounded overnight for a thorough search as a security measure.

Paul, who has a cross-country endorsement on his gliding certificate, also holds a private pilot's licence (PPL) to fly single-engined aircraft with up to four passengers.

But his main love is gliding and his goal for this year is to gain his instructor's rating.

His first pupil will be his fiancee - computer programmer Jane Marler, aged 27.

The couple are due to marry later this year.
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Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Mar 22, 1998
Words:370
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