03 May 2011
Cumbrian-born haulage magnate Edward Stobart, who ran the Eddie Stobart lorry empire for more than 30 years, has died at the age of 56. ...
Cumbrian-born haulage magnate Edward Stobart, who ran the Eddie Stobart lorry empire for more than 30 years, has died at the age of 56.
Stobart was managing director of Eddie Stobart Ltd, a business started by his father Eddie in the 1950s. He transformed the company from a small-time agricultural contractor to the now famous trucking giant. He died on 31st March 2011 at University Hospital, Coventry, after suffering from heart problems.
Stobart is credited with having built up the brand. He first became involved in the company towards the end of the 1960s, and oversaw its growth from a regional supplier in Cumbria to a giant of the haulage industry, with a cult following. The company has expanded into rail and air transport, as well as logistics management and warehousing.
The individually named trucks attracted an ‘Eddie spotting’ fanbase, which subsequently led to an official fan club and a merchandising operation selling Stobart-branded goods. The fan club now has more than 25,000 members.
In 2004, Stobart sold the company to his brother William and business partner Andrew Tinkler but not before creating the best-known haulage firm in the country, smartening up the image of the trucking industry, and giving thousands of motorway drivers a great ‘I spy’ game to play to stave off the inevitable boredom of a motorway journey!
The Stobart Group said: “It is with great sadness and regret that the Stobart Group shares the news that Edward Stobart has passed away. Our thoughts are with Edward’s wife Mandy, his six children and family at this difficult time.” Edward Stobart is also survived by his father, Eddie who is now in his 80s, and mother, Nora, who still live in Cumbria.
Tributes were also paid by Eddie Stobart fans. A fan club spokesman said: “It is a real shock and is very raw because it’s just happened.”
Stobart’s recruited a legion of fans by giving each lorry a woman’s name – the first was Twiggy in 1976 and others included Suzi and Dolly.
Many diecast collectors will remember the huge amount of trucks that have been produced over the years in Stobart livery, mostly from the likes of Corgi and Oxford Diecast. We will bring you more news of any new releases as they are announced but, along with the fans from the official club, Diecast Collector would like to offer our appreciation of the models produced in celebration of this famous company.
This news story was first published in the June issue of Diecast Collector. To see which issues of Diecast Collector are available to buy online, click here.