Contractor and plant hire boss

Date: Monday 5th March 2018
Lenny Taylor
Lenny Taylor

AROUND 500 people turned out to pay their respects at the funeral of popular agricultural contractor and plant hire boss Lenny Taylor, Penruddock, who died at the age of 84.

A Cumbrian through and through, he was known and liked over a wide area through his business, to which he devoted a huge amount of hard work throughout his life.

Born at Kitty House, Troutbeck, he had a brother, Stan, and sister, Mary. He went to school in Penruddock and then, having completed his education, went to work on the family farm, which was by then at Swinescales, also in the Penruddock area.

It was in 1958 that he married Edna Jackson, from Skelton, and the couple moved to Hill Top, Penruddock, where Lenny lived until the end of his life. They had three sons, Alan, Bryan and Chris.

Lenny started his business by sawing logs and catching rabbits, and soon started doing contracting work as well. He kept hens, selling the eggs they produced; planted five acres of potatoes which produced 100 tons, all picked, sorted and bagged by hand; planted evergreen trees which were cut and sold for Christmas; and reared turkeys for sale during the festive season — which goes on to this day.

Over time he developed the plant hire business offering a full range of construction equipment. Demolition work was a big part of the company, and the projects it was involved with included clearing old premises on land now occupied by Carlisle’s Lanes shopping centre, and taking down railway buildings behind McVities Brewery, Appleby.

The business provided diggers which worked full time for local authorities and a rivers board, and its plant was involved in construction of the M6 and M62 motorways.

He also expanded the agricultural contracting business to include combine harvesting, forage harvesting, baling, grain and grass drilling, ploughing, hedge trimming and much more. All of this kept a staff or around 10 busy throughout the year.

Sheep and cattle were also part of the mix, with Lenny buying land for stock raising at Stoddah, Swinescales, Thwaite Hall, Greystoke Moor and Hutton John over the years. Amid all this activity, his wife answered all the phone calls connected with the business, as well as picking up and delivering many items.

An extremely hard working man, he had a very loyal staff — several employees were with him for decades — keen business sense, great energy and an ability to accurately price jobs, all of which contributed to the success of his ventures. When he had any spare time at weekends, Lenny enjoyed playing darts at the Sportsman’s Inn, Troutbeck. In his younger days he also liked shooting.

He is survived by his wife Edna, Keswick; sister Mary Stephenson, Penrith; and sons Alan, Plumpton, Bryan, Hutton Roof, and Chris, Motherby. He had seven grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.