Materials Handling World Magazine, with respect to the family and friends of the late Mr Edward Stobart
Edward Stobart was a businessman from a young age. In his early teens he started selling firewood and worked for his father, Eddie Stobart, as part of his family agricultural business based in Hesket Newmarket in Cumbria.
When he was old enough, Edward started driving tipper trucks working on the construction of the M6 motorway. He then used the delivery trucks from his father’s agricultural company and, seizing the initiative, expanded this side of the business into the Eddie Stobart haulage company.
He started with eight trucks and 12 employees in 1976 and by 25 years later the fleet had expanded to 1000 trucks and 2000 employees.
Edward was responsible for the massive expansion of the business and was the man behind the brand despite the fact he was uncomfortable in front of the camera. He introduced smart trucks to the UK’s roads and made driver’s uniforms compulsory including the wearing of ties – which was revolutionary at the time.
He was instrumental in bringing a sense of professionalism to the haulage industry and driving it forward into the 20th century. He concentrated on the attention to detail and professionalism which were the building blocks to the company’s success.
He also captivated the public’s imagination by naming his trucks after girls. The first truck was christened Twiggy after the famous supermodel. The public’s interest in the trucks, and spotting the girls’ names, started the Eddie Stobart Fan Club which, at that time, had 25,000 members. He gave the industry an acceptable public face.
Edward changed the public’s image of a dirty, macho industry into an efficient, bright, clean and friendly company. He could spot potential in people and opportunities in business. He created the Eddie Stobart work ethos and was surrounded by devoted ‘Stobart’ people.
Edwards tenacity, vision, entrepreneurialism, determination and pure hard work meant he was a master of innovation. He epitomised the self-made millionaire business man.
In 2004 Edward sold the Eddie Stobart haulage business to his younger brother William and business partner Andrew Tinkler. It now forms part of Stobart Group plc – one of the top multimodal logistics businesses in the UK.
Edward lived in Warwickshire and is survived by wife Mandy and his children. His mother and father, Eddie Stobart, continue to reside in Cumbria.