“Give me the keys to a lorry and I’m happy!”. The words of 54-year-old Richard Wastie, on the books at Driver Hire Oxford, and currently well on his way to becoming a Category C HGV driver.
Whilst Richard might give the impression that he’s worked in logistics all his life, that’s not the case. A qualified mechanic and site electrical contractor, he only discovered driving as a career just before lockdown hit the country last year. In fact, it was his partner, Lesley who, in the saddest of circumstances led him into his new career.
“Lesley and I were together for 14 years,” Richard explains. “We were boyfriend and girlfriend at school and then ‘re-met’ years later. Lesley discovered that she had Huntingdon’s Chorea, an awful degenerative illness. One of our great pleasures was holidaying in Spain but Lesley’s condition deteriorated to such an extent that she could no longer fly. So I decided that we’d drive! We did the trip seven times before she died. And that was when I discovered my love of long-distance driving.”
Following Lesley’s death – Richard had been her fulltime carer – he needed a job. He spotted a Driver Hire Oxford ad looking for non-HGV drivers. Richard was interviewed and before he knew it found himself in the cab of a 7.5 tonner driving for the National Blood and Transplant Service.
“I like variety and I don’t like sitting around,” Richard continues. “So, once I’d driven the team to wherever they were based for the day, I’d help with the set-up, wipe down afterwards and then take round tea and biscuits for the donors. I was asked to help triage people and trained on what to do if someone fainted.”
As a result of his efforts, Richard was identified as a ‘Driver Hire Hero’ and featured in a campaign to raise awareness of the RHA’s National Lorry Week. He’s subsequently worked for a whole host of Driver Hire Oxford clients including South Central Ambulance Service and Thames Water.
His flexibility, availability and popularity with clients led Lorraine Thompson, the owner of Driver Hire Oxford, to offer Richard the opportunity to do his Driver CPC and then start training for his Category C through Driver Hire’s licence acquisition service.
“Becoming an HGV driver is my goal. I want to spread my wings, drive long distance – in Europe if I can. Spending the night in a cab will be like a holiday for me. I’ve met so many fantastic people since I started driving – I can’t wait to take the next step,” Richard concludes.
If you’re considering becoming an HGV driver yourself, you can get your licence just like Richard through Driver Hire Training’s licence acquisition training service.