|My name is Andrew Lambert, or Andy Lambert, of
Locks Heath near Southampton, England. I have had a fairly successful
life and made a name for myself in several very diverse areas, here is a
brief background to that. I was born in 1946 and lived in London's
Replingham Road, Southfields (above the co-op) before moving to
Huxley Close and grew up around
the Wandsworth area, with my older brother - Geoff.
My first School was Riversdale School in Southfields, then later
I went to the (then new)
Elliott Comprehensive School, up on Putney Common. Old Elliott
pupils might like to know there is a Elliott School Egroup here as well
as a fascinating website.
When I left school, I first worked for Decca, What an education that
was, talk about the swing sixties! My father was sadly killed during
this time and so I had to do my growing up quickly. Fortunately I was
amongst friends (a tough bunch of Battersea 'rockers') and that no doubt
is where I developed a love of fast mechanical things (as well as leggy
Although the first part of my life (and then the last part of working
life) were involved with electronics, my 'true love' has always been
vehicle recovery and all
the remarkable people in the industry. I attended my first breakdown
with Forge Garage of Poynings down in Sussex (with whom I was working
through my holiday), in the summer of 1965 and become hooked (no pun) on
Little did I know at the time, that I would be associated with vehicle
recovery for the rest of my life. Or could I guess that at the end of my
active career (forty years later), 'The Good and the Great' of the
industry would to my internal pride, make me a FIVR Fellow of
The Institute Of Vehicle Recovery and award me with this gold truck.
When I left the front line of vehicle recovery, it was to develop IT
systems, to ease the incredible load on control room staff and drivers.
Within five years of us starting, 95% of UK Recovery operators were
using our Turbo Dispatch communication system. Much has been written
elsewhere about this and how it changed the industry for the better,
therefore I don't intend to dwell on it here.
In 2006 The IVER awarded me this incredible Green Flag Trophy,
for the contributions my peers thought I had made to the recovery
industry. When I finally retired I thought it was all over and I could
get away from Recovery Vehicles, but again I was honoured to be asked to
become the fourth trustee in RISC UK (The Recovery Industry Support
Charity), along with my old mates Brian Hagen, Tom Johnson and a new
friend Debbie Hewitt.
Anyway back to the summer of 1965 - From that turning point on, I spent
every spare moment nights and weekends, as a 'part time' recovery
driver. My speciality being working the Kingston Bypass, and if you knew
the bypass when South Lane was still a crossroads, you will understand
what it was like. Still I lived through it and sadly there were some
that did not. First I 'part timed' for Windmill Coachworks, (then in
Molsey opposite the police station). Next I joined Instant Service
Garage, in that most famous of suburban roads - The Avenue Surbiton
(never did get to meet Felicity Kendal though). It was interesting
'fighting for work', in those days when only a few motorist belonged to
one of the 'motoring clubs' Finally I joined Cambridge Coachworks,
on the Cambridge Road Kingston. I went full time around 1971 and soon
after that started National Rescue, as a division of Cambridge
What followed, were probably the best years of my life. We did not have
much money but I loved the work, even if it was 'non stop' 24Hrs a day.
The incredible joy and camaraderie, of working with those recovery
drivers and police officers I knew at that time, will remain with me
forever. They were all characters and I have not meet their like since.
Nor do I expect to, because today our behaviour would not be
If any of you read this: Jaws, Phil the Gypsy, Snake, Sunshine, Alan
the Poet, Trio, Trigger, Stitch, Grisly, Chunky and so, so many others -
Thanks for all the fun we had. If you have time please read my
of Vehicle Recovery to get a feel for those incredible times. It
seems imposable today to believe that such things happened then, but
happen they did and you can see some of the photos to prove it. During
the time at Cambridge Road Kingston not only did we start National
Rescue, we also broke in to CB. To be part of the legalisation of CB in
the UK, we converted an old wooden hut (on the front of the coachworks)
in to a Shop, and called it The Rabbit Rabbit Hutch.
In 1985 myself and a genus called Ian Lane, started Motor Trade
Software. A software company producing programs for the motor trade
and vehicle recovery operators. I was MD of that company, until we sold
the software part off, in 2002. My only brother Geoff worked for BT as
an engineer, but like me spent his spare time around the recovery scene.
In 1982 he joined me at National Rescue full time and when I left to
expand Motor Trade Software in the nineties, he took over and still owns
The National Rescue Group today.
As for me? Well until recently I was MD of the Mobile Tracking
Systems Who's main products are vehicle location devices and guess
what? Their largest customer sector, is the UK Recovery Industry.
In 2007 I retired from Mobile Tracking Systems and intend spending my
time working for RISC (the
Recovery Industry Support Charity). I will also spend time at
Brooklands, with the occasional Aircraft Recovery being undertaken, no
doubt and we have also invested in a Holiday Home to let out or enjoy
My second wife the lovely Christine comes from the Sunbury area, where
she lived until we were married. She went to Kenyngton Manor School and
then worked for Airfix / Crayon, both at Sunbury and Staines offices. We
become a couple in 1982 as a result of circumstance totally beyond our
control, or (at the time) our desires. We married a couple of years
later. She helped me raise my first
daughter Sandra and presented me with a second one called Caroline in
1984. Lastly she successfully managed the MTS Group with me (she might
say despite me) until we sold the company and retired in 2007. Next to
the family, her big love is her collection of pussy cats.
I am a good
photographer and also enjoy making home moves with my SVHS and more
recently Digital Video systems. After some twenty years as a SWL (Short
Wave Listener), in 1972 I passed my Radio Amateurs License and hold the
call sign G8HER. If any 'fellows'
read this - best 73's.Boating has formed a large part of my life as
well, with most of my boats being moored in the Solent. You will find
some pictures of them in the hobbies picture gallery.
For the last twenty two years, I have also been working as a
volunteer for Brooklands Museum. Myself and a team of very special guys
(and the odd girl), have been responsible for transporting most of the
museum's major exhibits. I have now lost count, but the number of
aircraft road transportations I have been involved with, must have
exceeded one hundred by now. This includes aircraft as big as the
Viscount Stephen Piercey and as special as Concorde.
The volunteers are a unique bunch of people and you never know just who
you are working with on a project. On one occasion I was unloading the
cockpit sections of a Valiant 'V Bomber'. Quietly watching me was an
'old boy' cutting the grass. After an hour or so he had finished and
come over to where we were having a break. We chatted for awhile and he
seemed to know a bit about the V bombers so I asked him if he had worked
on them. "No" he replied "not really, but there are a lot of other
volunteers here who did if you need to ask something" he added.
In the months that followed I got to know this unassuming and gentle man
better and found out that indeed he had not worked on them. He was in
fact Capt. Jock Bryce OBE, the test pilot who had first flown it, along
with the 'first flight' of the Varsity, Viscount, VC-10, Vanguard and
Talk about respect!
My proudest 'Brooklands' moments were during 2004, when with the aid of
a fantastic team. I planned and executed the movement of the Brooklands
Concorde DG from Filton Bristol, home to Weybridge. I will not go into
the politics of what happened about 'who got what' Concorde here, but
all I will say is - While the world's TV watched her sister going down
the River Thames on a barge, held their breath as major roads were shut,
and applauded as it arrived (a couple of million pounds later) in
Scotland. We just quietly got on with the job and with the aid of many
old friends from the Recovery industry, brought our Concorde home in
bits, down the M4.
Andy is Sixty
Having mentioned Brooklands Museum this is a good place to place a link
to an event that took place there in September 2006.It was a couple of
days after my sixtieth birthday and unbeknown to me, some very good
friends and a group of my relatives, decided to see how old 'Leadfoot
Lambert' would get on driving (or travelling in), sixty odd vehicles in
just one day.
I was collected by my daughters (complete with a bloody wheelchair) at
eight in the morning. The wheelchair was the first set of wheels, out of
the sixty items they had planned. I then spent the day driving or
travelling in different Road Vehicles, Bikes, Hovercraft, Boats and
You can see an assortment of them by clicking here and also get a good
understanding of the pain they put me through that day (but which I
would do again tomorrow without even thinking).