Our Diamond Jubilee, celebrating 60 years in the plant hire business
My parents John and Eveline Freeman founded the original plant hire business Freemans of Bewdley in 1961. It was started initially at my grandparents Bewdley home, but they moved in the same year to their first proper premises The Old Gas Works site, Dowles, Bewdley.
The business expanded rapidly, outgrowing this site and within a few years they needed to move to new purpose built premises nearby at Astley Garage, Stourport in 1965. Brothers Barry and Howard joined at around this time, and the operation just took off, literally, with the business buying its first aircraft an Auster Terrier.
This formed the start of the helicopter hire business, which ultimately went on to run a fleet of 6 helicopters. These were hired for a range of uses- power and pipeline patrols, crop spraying, executive travel, and we were the first West Mercia Police operator. Other activities included a Rover/Triumph/Land Rover motor dealership, an electrical contracting business, and a construction equipment sales company. We were also a major Calor Gas wholesaler and Mobil retailer.
1967 saw the start of Freemans of Telford nee Dawley with the birth of the New Town, as one of the first companies to locate here. Sadly with family disagreements and fallouts my father broke away from his brothers and the other parts of the business in 1977 and took over the Telford operation in that same year. Our Kidderminster branch started in 1986 and closed when my brother David left in 2006.
In my own case, on completion of my apprenticeship in 1978 with Westland Helicopters Yeovil, I joined the firm, becoming a director in 1980, Managing Director in 1988 and have been here ever since! I was a CPA Council Member for the West Midlands 1988-91.
We will be celebrating our birthday over the year in all sorts of ways, with commemorative items to mark our Big 60. Meanwhile, reflecting our long standing association with Land Rovers, we are undertaking a complete nut and bolt rebuild of a 1949 Series 1, so watch this space! Please do make a point of calling in to see both me and the team- Andrew, Ian, Phil and Gareth who all work so hard and conscientiously to provide the best service possible.
The last year has been such a difficult time for us all, but at the end of the day pulling together and making it happen is what we have been doing for all of these 60 years!
Thanks for your support and looking forward to seeing you soon!