Emotional drive down memory lane for Arbroath veteran

Charles back in the cab for an emotional journey.Charles back in the cab for an emotional journey.

A Tayside veteran and former lorry driver forced off the road after he lost his sight has re-lived fond memories of his days behind the wheel during a visit to one of the region’s largest haulage companies. Charles Taylor, 67, of Arbroath, worked across the country as a HGV driver for two decades after serving as a gunner with the Royal Artillery. In the early 2000s he developed optic neuritis and had to say goodbye to his much-loved driving career.

The veteran, who lives alone, is supported by charity Scottish War Blinded. His outreach worker, Carole Martin, knew how much Charles misses life on the road. She contacted David Murray Transport in Carnoustie, where Charles began his driving career.

Charles in a HGV with Carole Martin, Scottish War Blinded Outreach Worker for Dundee and Angus, Wendy and Gary Devlin, co-directors of David Murray Transport.

Wendy Devlin, company director and daughter of founder David Murray, was more than happy to welcome Charles to their base.

The proud veteran was able to climb back into the cab, this time as a passenger, for an emotional trip to Arbroath and back. Wendy then presented him with a replica miniature truck and calendar. Charles, originally from Brechin, said: “My sight is very poor now.

“Even on a really nice day all I can really see is a shadow. It’s like a fog. I was last in a lorry about 14 years ago.

“I was very surprised but really humbled Carole arranged this visit for me, as I do really miss the lorries. “I just liked being on the road, seeing different things and places every day. Even if I see a lorry now or hear one, I just wish I was back on the road.

“It gets me down. Years ago I drove for David Murray for two weeks while he was in hospital to help him out. “It was lovely to sit in a HGV again, it brought back memories.

It was a very special day.”

Emotional drive down memory lane for Arbroath veteranPaddy the dog, Kerrie Devlin, David Murray Transport Accounts Administrator, Carole Martin, Scottish War Blinded Outreach Worker for Dundee and Angus, Doug Taylor, friend of Charles, Steven Whitton, mechanic/driver) and Wendy and Gary Devlin, co-directors of David Murray Transport.

David Murray, who sadly died in a motorbike accident in 2011, was a veteran himself. Wendy, who runs the company full time with her husband, Gary,  said: “Organisations such as Scottish War Blinded are vital, as far too many of the elderly, and especially those with particular needs, can become quiet and forgotten. “A bit of company and reminiscing can bring a smile to the face.”

Charles receives one-on-one support from Carole, who supports Scottish War Blinded’s veterans with sight loss across Dundee and Angus. She said: “He has often spoken of how much he misses his driving career since his sight loss took it away from him. “I thought it would be a nice idea to try to organise a visit to a haulage company so he could reconnect in a small way with his passion.”

For more information about the support on offer or to refer a veteran to the charity call 0800 035 6409 or visit www.scottishwarblinded.org

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