There’s no substitute for experience

Bence are one of Europe’s leading specialist vehicle manufacturers, creating mobile spaces for a range of sectors. Our history as a specialist coachbuilder dates back to the early 1900s, with our roots firmly planted in Yate, just north of Bristol. Focused on build quality and in-house expertise we’ve seen significant growth in size and reputation in recent years, with Bence processes continuing to exceed industry standards.

A growing history

WH Bence Ltd has enjoyed rapid growth since its foundation in 1982.

1982

When three of the region’s specialist vehicle companies went into receivership, putting James Brown out of work, he decided to launch his own company. Using an old coach painting shop, a bank loan, six coachbuilders and two painters, WH Bence Ltd was born.

1983

The Bence site includes three build bays and a paint bay. A new wooden shed becomes the stores, with a Portakabin for offices. Expansion is rapid. More of the Longwell Green site becomes available, so we move our paintshop and add more building bays.

1987

Space is again at a premium so James purchases a site close by at Armstrong Way. It’s a family affair, with his brother building the new factory on the site which opened on 4 July 1988. It’s a remarkable day as the new workshop seemed absolutely enormous, which of course it is, being three times the size of our original unit.

2004

Bence build a new paint preparation and spray shop facility on the Armstrong Way site. This includes a low bake oven with the latest paint extraction system, high tech air-powered wall mounted gantries for our sprayers to move easily across the vehicles, and a preparation bay with the latest dust extraction equipment.

2016

Bence employs a team of around 60 full-time staff.  With contracts rolling in from all sectors, this family company’s future is going from strength to strength.

Left to Right: Oliver Brown – Sales Director

Sue Brown – Company Secretary

James Brown – Managing Director

Edward Brown – Production Director.

 

Our people

  • Name
    Leah Davis
    Role
    Finance & Administration Manager

    Leah joined WH Bence in March 2016 as Office Administrator.  After leaving school Leah commenced her career in an accounting practice specialising in business restructuring and insolvency.  Leah spent 12 years working in this industry including 4 years working in Western Australia.  Since returning from Australia Leah has moved away from her accounting practice background and is enjoying the variety this brings to her career.

    In her spare time Leah is currently renovating a vintage caravan and is hoping to pick up some tips and useful information from the production staff at Bence!

  • Name
    Alex Wright
    Role
    Head of Procurement

    From School it was off to the Alps to Ski and Snowboard then off around the world surfing a few too many snow seasons later and after working in Snowsport retail it was time to move into the supply chain side of retail. 10 years with he biggest outdoor group in Europe taught Alex an immense amount about process and supply chains.

    Moving onwards and upwards it was onto one of the largest worldwide apparel and footwear companies with over 30 brands many process’s and far too many acronyms later…

    Outside of work Alex loves to be outside, now a days sliding down hills has progressed to rolling down them on two wheels.

  • Name
    Denise Taljaard
    Role
    Sales Executive

    Denise joined WH Bence in November 2017 as Executive Assistant and PA to the Directors, she Matriculated and received a N6 Diploma in Management Assistance in South Africa.  After immigrating to the UK, she has developed her career mostly within the corporate industry and assisting with business development.

    In July 2019 she was promoted to Sales Executive and now assists with sales management and tender responses.

  • Name
    Steve Jones
    Role
    Operations Manager

    Steve joined the WH Bence family recently in 2017 and brings a set of skills developed over a varied career, predominantly from within production and manufacturing sectors.
    As an innovative Manager with 25+years’ experience, working within industries both singular cell and high volume manufacturing, Steve gives drive and delivers our focus on process and continuous improvement strategies. With the goal of always promoting individual and team excellence, and performance, he ensures that all at WH Bence deliver a service and an end product above and beyond our customer/clients expectations.
    Steve is also our resident “ Go Too Golf Guru “ as a holder of a single figure Hcp, he can often be tempted to give lessons at the extraordinary value for money cost of a cold beverage.

  • Name
    Steve Morris
    Role
    Transport Manager

    Steve joined the Company in April 2019 and has spent many years in Transport Management. He holds a Certificate of Professional Competence (Road Haulage) International and an LGV Class 1 driving licence. Transport has been a passion for many years.
    He started his career as an Engineering Apprentice with WD & HO Wills in Bristol, moved into IT and then into Transport Management.
    Working with Marks & Spencer, Next, CEVA Logistics and Tesco, he brings a wide and diverse experience to his role as Transport Manager.
    He is currently building a Campervan, from scratch, which gives him a good insight into the world of vehicle transformation.

  • Name
    Kim Vickery
    Role
    Service and Transport Administrator

    Kim started working for Bence in Nov 2019. Leaving school having no idea what she wanted to do when she grew up, Kim has mainly worked in Customer Service & Sales jobs. She started in the Travel sector doing a few years as a Club 18-30 rep which literally prepared her for anything!

    Coming home to a more sedate job Kim started selling concrete, aggregate and eventually scaffolding. Looking for a change, she needed a job that matched her organisation and customer service skills.  Kim’s role as planner for the Bence service and transport department fits the bill perfectly. She is really enjoying the varied nature and fast pace of the planning role.

    In Kim’s spare time she make Birthday cakes, she also does tap and ballet dancing.

  • Name
    Conrad Stanley
    Role
    Service Manager
  • Name
    Steph Butcher
    Role
    Service Office Administration Support
  • Name
    Becky Rogers
    Role
    Accounts Assistant

    Leaving school with a career in Childcare in mind, Becky worked her way up from a part-time Playgroup, to a full time Nursery before becoming a private Nanny. Since the Nanny role came to an end, Becky has worked in a variety of office roles including hiring out plant equipment, planning & reporting in a courier company and most recently hiring out trucks and trailers. At this stage, Becky discovered a new fondness for maths, invoicing and Microsoft Excel and started working towards an Accounting role by starting an AAT course. She’s now enjoying learning her new role with WH Bence and is fascinated seeing the specialist units being built.
    In her spare time, Becky loves to get outside, walking, camping and riding horses. She has also tried out a number of bottomless brunches in bars around Bristol that have become popular in the last few years!

  • Name
    Brad Thomas
    Role
    Stores Manager

    Brad was a Gastro Chef, working in pubs and restaurants in the local area before he joined WH Bence in 2012 as a storeman.  He was then promoted to Stores Manager in early 2013

    Brad enjoys the challenge of sourcing rare parts for the build process of the specialist vehicles that WH Bence produce, and is always on hand to help customers source spares for their vehicles.

     

     

  • Name
    Edward Brown
    Role
    Production Director

    With Bence in his blood, Edward could from an early age be found at the company, either having a go at fabrication or spraying vehicles in our paint shop.  In 2007 Edward officially joined Bence part time in the design team whilst attending University, helping with the production of manuals and the design stages on the vehicles.

    Moving on from the degree in Quantity Surveying, Edward started in the post of Assistant Production Manager, supervising the workshop and overseeing the production of vehicles.  Recently, following promotion to Production Director, Edward has been instrumental in the programming of IFM systems on the Bence range of Type B Fire Appliances.

  • Name
    Jason Perkins
    Role
    Head of Design Engineering

    Jason joined the company after having spent over eight years in the leisure vehicle business. He’s highly skilled in 2D and 3D CAD, CADCAM and CNC programming and won the City and Guilds Medal for Excellence for 3D CAD design in 2005. He began his career as an apprentice model/pattern maker in 1988, working on various aircraft and military projects. He later moved into the vacuum forming business, creating forming for various aircraft and automotive companies and sparking his interest in CNC machining. Jason’s next move was to Britain’s largest caravan and motorhome Company as a design engineer.

    When not designing Jason is an avid cook and enjoys growing his own crops!

  • Name
    James Brown
    Role
    Chairman

    In 1982 James was an expert coachbuilder working for one of the South West’s leading specialist vehicle companies. When the company went into receivership, putting James out of work, he decided to launch his own company. Using the 6000sq ft coach painting shop of the former Longwell Green Coachworks, a loan from Barclays Bank, six coachbuilders and two painters, James went into business and WH Bence was born.

    Since then, James has grown the company into one of Europe’s leading specialist vehicle manufacturers, with its own fabrication and maintenance sites.  WH Bence prides itself on being a family-run company, with James’ wife Sue, and sons Oliver and Edward taking on key roles in the organisation.

  • Name
    Sue Brown
    Role
    Company Secretary

    Having started my career as a Pharmacist it was quite a dramatic change to move over to the world of vehicle production!  I came to Bence to be part of my own business and to work alongside my family. I re-trained in Finance and accounting and I am currently in charge of the purse strings (much to everyone’s annoyance!) as the Company Secretary.  I enjoy being a key part of business working alongside my family to look at new ways to improve the business we love.

    The change over the last 18 months in the company’s carbon footprint with a reduction in waste and recycling of materials has really made me feel we are working hard to do our bit. We are looking to the future of the business and investing in the latest technology to provide us green energy for the business.

  • Name
    Oliver Brown
    Role
    Managing Director

    W H Bence was founded the year I was born so I think this business has always been in my blood. I love the excitement of the ever changing work, from the design of the new version of the mini fire appliance to creating a mobile hospitality space.

    I enjoyed an adventurous early career working as a sailing instructor at both the UK Sailing Academy in Cowes and ICC in Salcombe, Devon. Having completed my Degree at Loughborough University I moved over to run the Events Department for W H Bence.  I then became Sales Director we having had a great few years with the introduction of the Front Line Appliance to our product range.  I look forward to a great future!

Job openings

Bence have built their reputation on designing and manufacturing specialist vehicles and trailers to the very highest standards. To do this, we employ the most skilled workforces in the coachbuilding industry.

Interested? Drop us an email at info@whbence.co.uk or call us at +44 1454 310 909

  • MOBILE VEHICLE SERVICE ENGINEER

    Are you a trained mechanic looking for a new challenge?  This is a varied and interesting role that would suit someone with a mechanical background, an eye for detail and general maintenance skills.

    Due to expansion, specialist coachbuilder WH Bence requires a skilled vehicle service engineer to join the team.  The successful candidate will work at our services premises in Yate, near Bristol, but will also be required to work on our specialist vehicle contracts throughout the UK and Ireland.

    The successful candidate will join the current team to provide after-sales support and fulfil long term contracts for preventative maintenance, for which training will be provided.  After training you will be expected to be able to problem solve whilst on a client’s site with telephone support from the Bence Service Manager.

    Bence have built and now maintain a fleet of specialised emergency service and medical vehicles numbering in excess of 250. The successful applicant will be working on these vehicles and preferably have a heavy goods vehicle service background. A sound knowledge of servicing and maintaining trailers & vehicles is required.  Experience in auto vehicle electrics and hydraulics will be advantageous though not essential.

    A full driving licence is required, and a C + E licence would be advantageous.

    This remuneration for this position is £27,000 to £31,000 per annum, dependent on qualifications and experience.  A service van and company mobile will also be provided as Bence service engineers share a stand by call out on rota and often have the opportunity to work overtime.

    Please have a look at our website www.whbence.co.uk for further information on the specialist nature of WH Bence vehicles.

    To apply, please send a CV and covering letter to leah@whbence.co.uk

    NO AGENCIES PLEASE