TC Reader (London E14)
In our early days of entering into the road haulage sector we worked for a very well established, and reputable local company based on the Isle Of Dogs in the east end of London called TC Reader. Working with Tommy Reader & Bobby Penn, who also went by the name of Bobby Reader, was a big influence into our expansion from two trucks into 3 then 4 then up to 60. We originally operated 1 truck (E780MMH) for them in our striped livery, but in this instance orange & white, with a matching trailer (Trl1) and their name in the headboard, which they happily worked as their own, in and around the country, for many years up until their closure & retirement. When Tommy Reader finally closed the doors we were lucky enough to continue with various customers of theirs as well as taking on 3 of their drivers onto the Colton fleet, one of whom is still working with us to this day. Billy Palmer originally retired at 65 at Truckfest 2019 but, bored of playing the drums and annoying his neighbours, finally came out of retirement less than a year later and can be seen currently driving W44CTL, helping to maintain the Colton’s brand on the road and with our many customers.
Both Tommy & Bobby were very highly respected in the road haulage sector, and their skills and knowledge helped in our evolution and development from a Commercial Vehicle and breakdown workshop to the road haulage company that has grown to what we are today. For this we are extremely grateful.
Carl Masters, endearingly known as ‘fatboy’ to his friends and colleagues, has been with the company for over 27 years, starting with us as a newly experienced Class 1 driver tramping away all week over the country in our early F10 (D540KMG). He then changed direction and went into the workshops to train as a fitter. In this time we have seen Carl become a father to both Jordan & Bradley, both of whom enjoyed working with their dad when they were younger, a tradition Bradley still carries on today often covering odd days in our depot assisting with the yard duties when our volumes peak. Over the years Carl became a popular character with customers, assisting in our HGV MOT Presentations for our workshops, vehicle servicing, and roadside breakdown assistance. He then took leadership role with Keith Norman driving our first recovery vehicle, B128UFC, and then later took over our second recovery vehicle G947WLW. He was an ambassador for our company, looking after the heavy recovery with Keith on a 24/7 basis very often with call-outs after hours taking stranded vehicles home, or bringing our own customers back when broken down around the country or even as far field as Europe.
When the business changed and the recovery vehicles were sold in the early 2000’s Carl returned and remains a driver for us today. However he now goes home each night having changed his role from being a tramper to being our loyal and dedicated ex-depot Senior driver rarely moving outside the M25 - he can often be heard reminding us to ‘not send me outside the river’…….
Carl remains a loyal and true ambassador for us to this day and has been with us through the journey of our growth helping “Drive Britain forward’, piloting his newly-replaced vehicle Y17CCH fitted with only 2 steps up as the poor lad gets older with us….
We thank Carl for his dedication and loyalty to the business, and look forward to his 30 year service milestone…. #2023Celebrations
Chris Hollyoak, another family member, and a close and special cousin to Keith who joined our business for the long journey in the early days.
Chrissy, Little Chris, Ollyoak as he was affectionately known amongst other names, started with us in the workshops, and then decided the cold and greasy floors were not for him. He then used his Class 1 and ‘del boy’ ways to convince Keith he would be a good recovery driver or truck driver, as well as promising to keep the tea pot well used and continually warm. His love for tea and trucks then took him into various paths in our business over the years, driving and being part of the heavy recovery team with Keith & Carl, but then then moving over to drive a new vehicle added onto the fleet - K856VUD. After much pestering he was released from local duties and continued to drive a variety of trucks as a tramper for us up until he sadly passed away in February 2013 at too young an age doing what he loved most, apart from spending time with his family…. Up & down the country, tramping away, seeing people & places from Monday to Friday and some Saturdays, always arriving early and with a mug of tea in hand a smile on his face.
Chrissy was a true and loyal ambassador for the Coltons brand, and again a much loved family member whose three children Aaron, Belinda & Toby have now grown up, all having been a part of the Colton’s story with our company having been a big part of his life and their lives.
He was well known and liked by all the drivers who fondly remember him and his specific directions using descriptive locations when they asked for the way to a particular site, which was better than any up-to-date Sat Nav…. His love for tea and trucks gave us much pleasure over the 20 years of him being a major part of our growth; a credit to himself and us and the most sincere person you could possibly wish to meet, he is still sorely missed by many of us today.
We then had the absolute pleasure of naming a truck ‘Ollyoak’ and having this at his daughter Belinda’s wedding in May 2018 a day that we know he would have been proud of with his daughter walk down the aisle to marry he fiancé Josh. It brought many tears, happiness tinged by our sadness as we played a small but happy part on this very special and memorable day.
Chrissy was a man who was well-known and liked by all who knew him, a person who never offended anyone, some-one who willingly dedicated his attention and time to others, a driver we know was a credit to us and his fellow drivers and a close family member and friend who will never be forgotten.
Aaron, Belinda & Toby have equally become part of the legacy of Chrissy since his passing, often spotting Coltons and our distinctive livery up and down the motorways which they say brings many great and happy memories of their dad and his time with us all.
#teamcoltons #ollyoak #familyvalues #committedpeople #specialmemories