Haulage magnate Edward Stobart dies, aged 56

 
Edward Stobart with Bernard Jenkin MP for Harwich and North Essex, in 1999. Edward Stobart (r) sold the firm to his brother in 2004

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Haulage magnate Edward Stobart, who built up the Eddie Stobart lorry empire and ran it for more than 30 years, has died at the age of 56.

He suffered what were described as "heart problems" on Wednesday and died on Thursday in hospital in Coventry.

He took the business started by his father Eddie and built it into the best known haulage company in the UK.

Mr Stobart sold the firm to his brother William and business partner Andrew Tinkler in 2004.

In the 1970s Eddie Stobart took the company from a local firm delivering fertiliser into a road transport and warehousing company.

Drivers wore collars and ties, which was unusual at the time, and were also instructed to wave back and honk their horn when signalled by a passer-by.

By the 1990s the distinctive trucks, with each cabin bearing a woman's name, were a common sight on motorways across the UK and Europe.

'Massive loss'

The firm even set up its own fan club, which now has more than 25,000 members.

During the Kosovo crisis Eddie Stobart trucks delivered supplies to British forces based in neighbouring Macedonia.

When the company was sold in 2004 Eddie Stobart moved to the Midlands and took over a firm which built lorry trailers but that failed in 2009.

Tributes to lorry legend Eddie Stobart

Ann Preston, chair of haulage company, Preston's of Potto, paid tribute to what she described as a "very, very kind man".

"He was very passionate about road transport," she said.

"From a young boy he didn't want to do anything else.

"He's a massive loss, he's definitely the most iconic figure that has ever been in this industry."

The Stobart Group said in a statement: "Our thoughts are with Edward's wife Mandy, his children and family at this difficult time."

The Stobart Members' Club said in a statement: "The club's members will certainly have fond memories of the man who started the phenomenon off, created the iconic Eddie Stobart brand and made it cool to spot lorries.

"Stobart Spotting will continue and the legacy of Edward Stobart will live on."

 

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  • rate this
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    Comment number 107.

    A legendary cumbrian and king of the hauliers who put my home town of Carlisle on the map. I think its a nice touch that Carlisle United (who are sponsored by Eddie Stobbart) will be wearing black arm bands on Sunday at Wembley. RIP Edward.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 46.

    My late husband was a member of the Stobart fan club and we both enjoyed "spotting" the lorries names and filling in the name book. It made long journeys a lot more interesting. Such smart , courteous and friendly drivers, always ready to wave or smile back. So sad, but his legend will live on.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 35.

    Never met the man but what a terrible waste. If his family do read this then please accept my heartfelt condolences. His drivers have always been very courteous and the vehicles clean, well done Eddie. Like his boss they are true Knights of the Road. DocL

  • rate this
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    Comment number 33.

    A very sad day today for the UK trucking legend. Personally, had if of not been for Edward's business acumen, and his idea of creating a fan club, it found a way in creating a frenzy of hauliers following his lead in having models made and it's down to his idea that I am in business doing what I do today, making models for Stobart and other UK truck companies.

    Gone, but not forgotten! Legend!

  • rate this
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    Comment number 29.

    In 2001 or thereabouts, I visited a transport museum in the Midlands, and in their shop they were selling dinky toy cars and trucks. I bought a toy Stobart truck (in the old green and red livery) for mother-in-law, who was a great Stobart fan, always got animated when she saw one on the motorways. It was probably the best present I ever bought her.
    Condolences to the family, RIP Edward

 

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