My original full-time job had become redundant when I was too young/able for retirement so I needed something different from desk-jocky in a pension scheme. A friend had started a delivery job in a 7 1/2 tonner and was enjoying his new life so I decided to give that a try. Realising that the bigger wagon the less effort (i.e. less handball) I got my rigid then Class 1 tests… not the first time I willingly admit.
Early days as an agency driver could be challenging – never the same vehicle two days running and much variety. I have driven powder tankers, tippers, wagon and drag outfits, shop deliveries, live chickens and a HIAB for a while. Never driven a Magnum, but given how weird some Renaults are it is probably just as well! The much-feared twin splitters, however, were never a problem as at one time I had a vintage Alvis car. 4 wide ratio gears, no synchro and the final clutch pedal movement stalling the clutch should ring bells for any older drivers reading this! (Whilst Alvis didn’t have the splots it did have an RH change and a central accelerator pedal, both needing concentration).
By about 2005 I was working 2/3 days a week for John before he joined DF/GAP and when he did so I started getting work through him and have stayed with Driving Force since then, firstly at Flint, North Wales and then at Ellesmere Port. Given my limited availability, i.e. fitting work in with a number of other commitments, DF have always been helpful and patient with including me into their schedules. The boys and girls in the office (yes I know they’re grown-ups, but I’m in my 70’s) have been friendly and courteous and I will miss their cheerful telephone calls.
My retirement is now simply age-related (e.g. arthritic arms and shoulders) and whilst still active in other areas I have decided that hauling 44 tons around with the responsibility that involves is best left to someone younger and stronger.
I have much enjoyed my second career (well most of the time anyway… “what do you mean you’re late – couldn’t you have gone the other way round?) so now I wish all of you at Driving Force the very best in the future.
Nigel Pratten HGV Driver (ret’d)
“Nigel has worked for me as an agency driver for over 15 years. This length of service is a testimony to the fact that we value our drivers and try to find them a job that suits them. Drivers are not just a number but the most valuable asset we have in our business.
I am proud to say that we have quite a few drivers in our business that represent us so well and that we have mutual loyalty.
I wish you a long and happy retirement Nigel and please call into the office as often as you can for a catch-up and a coffee.”
John Sutcliffe – Operations Director