Haddenham-born haulage company wins lifetime achievement award at Truckfest
- Credit: Archant
A Haddenham-born haulage company was presented with a lifetime achievement award at this year’s Truckfest.
Jack Richards & Son have their headquarters at Fakenham but started their business at Haddenham.
Having left the RAF after the war a newly married Jack moved with his wife Glad to live in Haddenham where he took various labouring and driving jobs with local companies that included Darby's of Sutton.
In 1956 Jack saw an opportunity and used some of their savings to buy a 1948 Bedford O-Type. The first truck he was to operate as his own under the name J.W.Richards from Haddenham.
His first job was a tough one, carrying stone to RAF Mildenhall where the runways were being extended. As his Bedford was not a tipper each load of stone was loaded and unloaded by shovel by Jack.
As a hard worker Jack didn't mind this and his first job earnt him 25 shillings. Building a good reputation in 1958 he started a regular service running fresh produce from local farms to the big markets in London, Cardiff, Swansea, Nottingham and Birmingham.
In 1957 Jack was looking out for a new truck when driving up the Mile End Road in London he saw a row of bright yellow Bedford S-Types for sale.
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He pulled up and after discussion with the salesman he had traded his O-Type in and drove off in his new, bigger, yellow Bedford.
These trucks were all ex-Lucozade hence the colour and on return home he told Glad not to worry as he would have the truck re-painted. Her reply was that she loved the colour, so Jack kept it and so was born the now famous yellow livery.
Into the 1960's and Jack was now running 30 vehicles and had also set up Richer Produce, also Haddenham based, providing packing for the producers.
It was while returning from trip to the Norfolk coast that Jack had the idea to start a business in Fakenham, a town both he and Glad liked, and in 1971 the new Fakenham depot was built and equipped with five Scammell trucks.
With the fleet now numbering 40 vehicles the company was now branded Jack Richards & Son Ltd to mark the official involvement of son Anthony.
With more produce being produced in Norfolk Fakenham became a bigger operation and in 1977 became the headquarters for the company.
Things continued to progress as the company became bigger in 1998 a second site was purchased in Northwich to cater for the increasing business in Cheshire.
The company now operates a fleet of 330 vehicles with 700 curtain side trailers and has also expended in warehousing, training, pallet movement as part of the Palletline system and carrying out commercial M.O.T.s.