83-year-old Borders trucker Dick motors into world record books

Dick Henderson from Ashkirk has been named the world's oldest HGV driver by the Guinness Book of Records.
Dick Henderson from Ashkirk has been named the world's oldest HGV driver by the Guinness Book of Records.

A Borders lorry driver says he has plenty of miles left in the tank despite being named as the oldest trucker in the world.

Dick Henderson, of Ashkirk, was presented with a Guinness Book of Records certificate at a surprise party in his local pub on Saturday.

Dick with a Thomas Mitchell timber truck in 1982.

Dick with a Thomas Mitchell timber truck in 1982.

And the 83-year-old, employed by his son’s timber firm, Elliot Henderson’s in Selkirk, said: “I’ve no intention of stopping. I’ll keep driving until I feel I can’t do it anymore, but I don’t see that happening for a while yet.

“I just like driving and meeting folk. With the timber trade, everywhere I go there’s somebody there to meet me.”

The great-grandfather of two has spent almost five decades behind the wheel for several local haulage firms.

After learning to drive a tractor at the age of 13 and a stint working on a farm after the Second World War, Dick started his first driving job on a Co-op coal lorry in 1955 before switching to a lime delivery firm in Hawick.

Working for Thomas Mitchell, aged 32 in 1967.

Working for Thomas Mitchell, aged 32 in 1967.

After a spell at the Philiphaugh Estate in Selkirk, Dick worked for several local companies including Thomas Mitchell of Ettrickbridge.

He worked at Baxter’s of Pathhead in Midlothian before retiring, aged 65, at the start of this millennium, but he soon found a life of leisure was not for him.

“I was retired for two days,” he told us.

“I had a game of golf and then I thought ‘I’m sick of this’.

“I came down to my son’s firm, and there was a lorry there, so I got in.

“I was taking timber on the low-loader. It was just doing it by myself for a while, but about three years ago, we got more diggers so we have got three low-loaders now. There’s plenty to keep me busy.”

Elliot, 59, added: “Dad retired from his job when he was 65 for two days, then he started driving for me. He has been driving ever since.

“He decided he was going to work for me. I wouldn’t let him drive if I didn’t think he was safe.”

His grandchildren Tracy Keddie, 38, and Gavin Henderson, 34, also work alongside him.

Dick was joined at the Smiddy bar and restaurant in Ashkirk on Saturday by sons Elliot and Roderick, daughter Lesley and his grandchildren and great-grandchildren to celebrate his achievement.

Former colleagues from Baxter’s also joined in the celebrations.

Despite a lengthy validation process by the Guinness Book of Records, initiated when his family contacted the organisation almost a year ago, that was the first Dick knew of his inclusion in the record book.

“I knew nothing about it until I went to the pub on Saturday night,” he said.

“I walked in and saw the boys that I used to work with at Baxter’s, and there was a lot of family there. I said ‘what’s going on here?’

“I just do what I do, I would never have thought of getting anything like that.”

Dick had his HGV licence renewed in August last year and was 83 years and 269 days old when he was officially certified as the oldest heavy goods vehicle licence holder in the world after making a delivery in Selkirk on January 7.

That beats the previous record held by 80-year-old Robert Currie for 19 years.