Carlisle trucker makes poignant final journey on his lorry

A MUCH loved family man and career-long haulier managed to turn heads as friends and relatives gave him a send off to remember. A trucker for nearly half a century, Derek Bell sadly died on February 19 this year, in Freeman Hospital, Newcastle. Aware of his condition he had planned a number of the aspects of his own funeral.

The 79-year-old, from south Carlisle, planned a fitting way to say goodbye and made his last drive to Carlisle Crematorium. last Friday, March 6 as something to be remembered. He made his poignant final journey on the back of his Foden lorry that he lovingly kept and maintained as a momento of his days driving all over the country, and many destinations around Europe, making deliveries. The dad-of-two started in the trucking business in the early 1960s and retired in 2009.

To mark the granddad-of-one’s Scottish ancestry a bagpiper played as he was taken in by the pallbearers for the service to celebrate his life, family and career. His wife Marjorie Bell, 71, said she’s hoping to scatter his ashes in Galloway, Scotland. The couple had been married in 1969.

She said: “He would have been very pleased with the send off, he knew he was dying and actually planned a lot of it. “I think it was very notable and he would have appreciated it. “It was a very nice service of celebration and there was lots of family and friends there.

“It was conducted by a celebrant and was all very upbeat. “He was driven all through the town and he was piped into the crematorium because of his Scottish ancestry. “The lorry is a Foden 4000 XL and it was the next to the last one that was made – there was no more after that so you could say it’s unique.

“We were in the Foden Society and went to all sorts of places far and wide. “The cabs sleep two – there is a top bunk and a bottom bunk and they are actually very comfortable. “I’ll miss him -we spent 50 years together and we spent a lot of time together and you learn just about everything about someone.

“We used to travel in the truck together – we were in partnership we bought the truck and I used to do the adminstration. “It just seemed something that was natural.” Majorie said that he had worked for a number of local firms and had bought the Foden lorry in 2000 until his retirement nearly a decade later.

She added: “He went all over the country and for a time he even went across Europe to places like Germany, Belgium, France and Switzerland. “If he could get something on a trailer he would take it that was how he thought about things.” “We used to go to rallies in the truck.

“When he retired he used to do the usual things like gardening and reading.” Mr Bell’s truck the Foden 4000 XL – which was kept in tip-top condition is one of a long line of lorries that enthusiasts keep going at displays, rallies and events. Production of the model ceased around two decades ago.

Foden Trucks were a famous British truck and bus making company which had its origins in Elworth near Sandbach in Cheshire during the 1850s. But the famous Foden trademark ceased to exist in 2006. However an army of enthusiasts from the Foden society keep and maintain the lorries as a way of keeping the memory of the company alive.

The society has regular events, meets and newsletters.

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