Malcolm admits he was wheel-happy and loved to be given the chance to take the helm and many Cook drivers let the mate take over, especiallywhen running empty. The first time Malcolm drove a fully loaded motor thiswas from Teesside to Grangemouth in Scotland. The four crew were, from left, Malcolm, Russell Thomlinson, Cliff garage door opener yellow light and Joe Lee.
Malcolm calls this trailer the'Scandinavian Sledge'. The trouble with lowloaders wastheir ground clearance and as trailers were overloaded, they tended to belly a bit. Worst regular humpback bridge for Cooks was at garage door opener yellow light between Consett and the A1 at Durham and many drivers had to 'sledge' over and just drag the trailer with them with sparks flying! In the mid 60s, Malcolm recalls a big spate of fleet modernisation as the secondhand bonneted Scammells of old were being phased out and replaced by AECs, Atkinsons, Leylands and the Scammell Handyman. It was to be such a Scammell that Malcolm drove on the first trip he did of a fully loaded motor: I was with Joe Lee and there were two of us running to Grangemouth from Teesside with some awkward steel sections.
Joe gave me the nod to drive out of Middlesbrough but I couldnt believe how he let me take it all the way Most mates loved the chance to drive but there were also some who didnt want to move up the pecking order and were happy enough with the role of professional mate. If you wanted to know how it was done" says Malcolm, then you just followed the lead of one of these professionals who perfected the preparation of their vehicles so they were always prepared no matter what load they had on. At Cooks there were guys like Harry Kirtley; Ian Hall plus Gwyn and Colin Edwards, while from Sunters I always rated both Peter Keenan and John Easton very highly" Into the 1970s and things were set to change -dramatically. The passage of time had seen the adoption of more and more union led BRS practice into that of Siddle Cooks although even with these sorts of overtures, the Consett depot of Cooks was still rated highly: I was told on a few occasions" says Malcolm, that Cooks was the most profitable depot in the BRS garage door opener yellow light because the staff there worked that much harder. The Cook influence was to eventually go as Siddle became more involved with Raymond in the creation of Compass Caravans, while Geoff Cook was to leave to create Elddis Transport a thriving business in 2016 which now has Geoffs son Nigel in day-to-day control.