PEOPLE - The Real Resource
Below is the gang at one moment in time. Starting with the Hairy Dave Kyle, fitter,on the left, we have Dave Parker who came from Astran's Warehouse to work at Aylesford, Dennis Nash & Paul Miller, who both started as "apprentices", KEVIN GOLDUP, (thanks Jeff) Hairy Jim , me, John Evans, and Jeff Woods. More about most of them later. This picture ( I have been reminded) was taken when we had our Haz-Chem Course.
(Jim had the distinction of being the first to drop a trailer off the side of our ramp, but he wasn't the last by a long chalk!)
Colin Salt was the son of an old tipper driving friend, who had been badgering me for a job almost since he could walk. We took him on, and he revelled in it, getting his HGV and becoming warehouse manager, but I was always glad I didn't work for him : he was always a bit harder than I was.
The shady three: Long Tall Graham, a source of many comical stories over the years, but a real dedicated MTH man. Next is Mick Pattenden, an HGV fitter from Kemsing, who unfortunately let it slip that he had a licence: that was his lot, out on the road he went. Last, but definitely not least is John Haywood: I had known John for years, but it was Bexley Magistrates that talked me into giving him a job, save sending him to jail: he was one of our real scallywags, but generous to a fault, and fiercely loyal in his way.
This was John's idea of teaching his boy how much hanging about there is in haulage: put the poor little bugger off trucks for life.
This is Jeff Woods, "Lightning", trying to fix the door before anyone notices who knocked it off its hinges. Jeff was Astran's UK Shunt driver, and we had worked together for many years. When Astran decided to shut down its own haulage operation and just use contractors, I offered Jeff a job with us. He turned me down flat, "I'm not working for a cowboy like you". After much cajoling and bribery, he eventually grudgingly agreed to do holiday relief in summer 86. Despite his misgivings he was last driver to leave when we closed in 1997. Could that boy put away an egg & bacon sandwich!
This was Kevin Goldup. Kev was an NTS tyre fitter, and we had got to know each other well when he came out in the middle of the night to fix blowouts on our old bangers. I was stuck on the side of Detling Hill with the Mercedes one day, Kev stopped to see if I needed a hand, and whilst giving me a lift for parts, asked if I had a job. Kev stayed until we closed our road haulage side, and bought one of the trucks and went to E.W.Taylors.
Paul Miller here , helping Dave repair a curtain. I had known Paul's Dad, Fred for many years, and Paul came for a job. He started in the warehouse, and then we put him through his HGV. Paul was just like his Dad, short, hairy, stocky, friendly and LOUD. We used to bring a chair out to help Paul rope a trailer so he could reach the hooks. Paul was never really happy with long distance with a young family, and left us for more local driving work, but is still a mate today.