If you’ve ever felt that truck drivers are an underappreciated lot, then you’ll be pleased to hear that one 25-year-old is so obsessed with lorries and the people who drive them that he’s collected more than £11,000-worth of toy trucks. |
James Bonnett’s obsession with all thing lorry related started from his seventh year when he was attracted by the colourful paintwork. But it was when he met Eddie Stobart at the Peterborough Truck Festival in 1999 that his passion really grew.
Bonnett is such a fan of Eddie Stobart and his fleet that he hopes one day to join his staff of truck drivers and is currently working towards getting his HGV licence. For now Bonnett satisfies his passion by buying around £200-worth of model vehicles each month and going out ‘spotting’ the real things at the weekend.
A Costly Collection
Over the 18 years that Bonnett has been a collector he reckons that he has spent more than £11,000 on the toys of different ranges and sizes. But he doesn’t see this as money lost, in fact he recently had one of his earliest vehicles valued at £800.
The average price of a model is around £20 for a small one, £80 for a larger one and as much as £180 for the more collectible items. Bonnett believes that his collection is the largest in the country and that if he were to sell it today it could be worth as much as £10,000.
A Huge Fan
Bonnett’s passion for lorries doesn’t stop there, he is a fully paid up member of the Stobart Fan Club as well as running the Stobart Facebook group. He has also made a series of stop-frame animations featuring some of the vehicles from his collection, which he has put on YouTube and has gained over 1,000 followers.
Eagle-eyed truck drivers may also spot him and his girlfriend at the roadside around the Nottingham area where they go at weekends to spot rare trucks and lorries. According to his girlfriend, who shares his passion for haulage, they spent their first Valentine’s together at the roadside ‘spotting’.
But true love didn’t always run so smoothly, an earlier girlfriend was unsupportive of his love of trucks.
“I had a girlfriend who didn’t like me spotting,” he explains, “she wanted me to spend all my money on her instead of doing what I wanted to do. I was saying, ‘you are not going to stop me doing my hobby’. It was a factor that contributed to the break-up. But because I'd saved so much money during that time, after it ended in 2012 my collection really began to rocket. I only had about 100 trucks then, but now I've got well over 300.”
Looking to the Future
Of course Bonnett’s big dream is to move from toys to the real thing with a career in haulage. Having watched the Stobart truck drivers from afar, he would like to join the ranks of one of the UK’s best love haulage companies.
Bonnett, previously a baker at Co-op, left his job recently to study for his HGV licence in order to make his life-long dream a reality and, I for one, wish him all the luck in the world.
Norman Dulwich is a Correspondent for Haulage Exchange, the leading online trade network for the road transport industry. Haulage Exchange provides services for matching truck drivers with available haulage jobs. Over 4,000 transport exchange businesses are networked together through their website, trading jobs and capacity in a safe 'wholesale' environment.
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