Dean’s Driver Extraordinary
“Driving is my life,” says Mr. Les Lane—and few people who know him would deny that statement. Mr. Lane (responsible for transport at Dean’s Rag Book Co. Ltd.), can look back to the age of 14 when he started as a mate on the old steam engines with Simpsons of Rye Harbour and he has been on lorries ever since—mostly with local firms. He recalls driving a large articulated lorry for the Rother Iron Works but this was small stuff compared with some loads that he has had in recent years.
If readers think that police motor cycle escorts are only reserved for visiting Heads of State, Les Lane can remember many occasions when he has been similarly fated. In particular a journey from the Midlands to South Wales with a cylinder measuring 80 feet x 14 feet demanded all his skill— as well as the help of the law.
Currently Mr. Lane is driving for Dean’s Rag Book Company, servicing their London factory and delivering soft toys and Rag Books to all the leading London Stores. In addition, he is the link man between the Company’s Rye despatch bay and the Group headquarters at Letchworth from which goods for the rest of the country are distributed by the Group’s transport fleet.
Week-ends find Mr. Lane still on the road—in his smart, blue Bond Equipe (“I wanted the registration number 007, but someone called Sean beat me to it”). “Mind you,” says Les Lane, “most of the fun has gone out of fast motoring—what with crowded roads and a 70 m.p.h. speed limit. My wife and I will be off to France and Spain for our holidays in the summer—perhaps we will have better luck there.”
Any embarrassing moments? On one occasion near Montrose in Scotland, Mr. Lane drove round a bend to find himself confronted with a delivery van right in his path. His quick thinking action avoided a collision but not before he turned his own lorry upside down. He does not care to admit what he was carrying but as he puts it, “Next year a local farmer found a lot of potatoes growing where he hadn’t planted any.”
Potatoes to pandas, gas to golliwogs, tomatoes to teddy bears—”So long as I am at the wheel, that’s the life for me,” says Les Lane.
From the April 1966 Issue of “Rye’s Own”
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