'Grandpa would have loved this.' Vintage truck museum to host major fundraising memorial ball

HIDDEN away on the outskirts of Glasgow is a warehouse filled with beautifully preserved and still roadworthy vintage trucks dating back to the 1930s. Visits to this transport museum in miniature are by request only. However, on December 7, the Donald Malcolm Heritage Centre in Brookfield, Renfrewshire, will be the unique setting for a charity ball organised in honour of one of Scotland’s most successful businessmen, with one of the lorries serving as a make-shift stage[1].

Donald Malcolm started working for the family-run haulage firm at just 13, transforming it into a multi-millions pound business that now employees more than 2000 people across the UK. The memorial ball, held by-annually at the centre has raised almost GBP200,000 for cancer charities, including Glasgow’s world-famous Beatson centre, with just two events. It was launched by Nicola Malcolm, after the death of her beloved grandfather from cancer in November 2013.

When he was diagnosed with cancer of the tongue on his 60th birthday he was given just six months to live. However he was still negotiating contracts for the haulage firm he devoted his life to six months before his death, after a 17-year fight. The business “kept him alive,” according to his son Andrew.

Donald’s granddaughter Nicola launched the ball the year after his death, raising GBP85,000 for funds for Cancer Research UK. The second generated GBP112,000 for the Beatson.

This year’s event, the third, on December 7, will benefit both Maggie’s Cancer Centres and the Beatson and all tickets sold out in just two weeks. Nicola. who lives in Brookfield, Renfrewshire,said: “We were down in London attending Ronan Keating’s Emerald and Ivy Ball (for Cancer Research UK) and I said to dad, I’d love to do one of these in Scotland[2], a mini one, and I’d like to do it in memory of grandpa. “At that time it was ten years since grandpa had died.

“We had a great relationship, Dad and I are still not very good about talking about grandpa. “He had 13 grandchildren but he treated all of them the same way. I did horse-riding the boys did rugby and hockey and he came to everything.

“Dad had said to me if you hold it in a hotel it would make a lot more money but I said to him that it wouldn’t be as special. “The amount of people who come up and say, I knew your grandpa, tell you all the little stories.” 'Grandpa would have loved this.' Vintage truck museum to host major fundraising memorial ball

Donald’s son and Nicola’s father Andrew, said; “We do the ball every two years now and it’s got to have a link to cancer. “I remember the first time, it was quite hard to persuade businessmen to take a table in a truck shed. The company was founded in 1921, by Donald’s father Walter and started off with one horse and cart and a lorry.

Donald lost his dad at the age of nine and started working for this business at 13, helping his mother Marion with day to day tasks. Read more: Times Past: Meet the Glasgow woman who took on the law courts and won[3] It’s still very much a family-run firm with around 200 employees having a connection to the Malcolm name.

Andrew left school “as soon as he could” to work for the group and all three of his children work for the business, which now has more than 2000 employees across the UK. It was involved in transporting the infrastructure for Glasgow’s 2014 Commonwealth Games and delivered all the Oor Wullie figurines that raise money for children’s cancer charities to locations across Scotland. One now takes pride of place in the Heritage Centre.

It was reconstructed from an original shed that was dismantled at Brookfield, the company’s old headquarters and put together by Andrew. The centre itself is built just a stones throw away from the company’s current headquarters in Linwood. Most of the trucks are still taken on the road to the various truck events throughout the UK or charity events.

'Grandpa would have loved this.' Vintage truck museum to host major fundraising memorial ball Andrew said: “Dad fought cancer for 17 years. “He was diagnosed with tongue cancer on his 60th birthday and was given six months to live but it was 17 operations later at the age of 78 when it finally took him.

“At lot of people said to me, you have to get your father to slow down but it was a tonic for him, that’s what was keeping him going. “Even today, there won’t be a day that goes by that he isn’t mentioned in the firm. “In his heyday he was probably about 25 stone in weight, he was 6ft tall but he carried it very well.

Read more: Inspirational women recognised at annual Business Women Scotland awards[4] “He was as hard as you would see on the outside but as soft as putty on the inside. He was straightforward, he never carried a grudge.

“It wasn’t till after he died that I heard all the stories. Dad used to keep their rent books in his desk drawer and he used to pay their rents because of some of them were getting their homes repossessed. “Dad built the business up with a lot of hard work and sweat.

It wasn’t so easy to get the funds in those days.” 'Grandpa would have loved this.' Vintage truck museum to host major fundraising memorial ball Andrew says his father “knew all his employees by name” and has tried to continue this ethos.

He said: “We’ve now got more than 2000 employees and we try to put money back into the communities across the UK where we employ staff. “A lot of families work for us and we have a lot of long-serving employees, some are third generation. “The most important aspect of our firm is the workforce.

One of the things our staff will always get is respect and support because that’s what dad was all about. “He would have loved the ball. He was teetotal all his life but he loved a good party.

“I sometimes look around the tables and think about how much he would have loved it.”

References

  1. ^ stage (www.eveningtimes.co.uk)
  2. ^ Scotland (www.eveningtimes.co.uk)
  3. ^ Times Past: Meet the Glasgow woman who took on the law courts and won (www.eveningtimes.co.uk)
  4. ^ Inspirational women recognised at annual Business Women Scotland awards (www.eveningtimes.co.uk)

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