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Wagons roll for a surprise Aldridge 80th party

By Black Country Bugle  |  Posted: January 16, 2014

By John Butterworth

  • Harry with Jan Sonderlo

  • Harry with Mark Wilkes, Alan Wilkes and John Reed

  • Harry's birthday spin

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FRIENDS ensured lorry enthusiast Harry Brierley literally had one for the road at his surprise 80th birthday on Sunday.

Harry, known as Jersey Joe, thought he was having a quiet party until he arrived at the Hollies Cafe on the A5 near Cannock where more than 40 wagons, 100 drivers from all over the country plus 50 other family and friends were waiting to greet him. It was a memorable afternoon for Harry, particularly when he met up with 87-year-old Jan Sonderlo whom he hadn't seen for nearly 37 years. Jan, who worked for Bakers Transport, Tipton, and Harry used to deliver camels, giraffes and gnus to Tilbury Docks where they were shipped to Japan.

Harry's friend Mark Wilkes, with help from his dad Alan and Jim Reed, had spent nearly six months arranging for lorry drivers from Somerset, Wales, Lincolnshire and Cumbria to attend the party and they began arriving from 7.45am.

"It was a beautiful day, I shall never forget it," said Harry, who has been driving lorries since 1951."It was such a memorable afternoon, particularly seeing Jan whom I last saw in 1976."

Harry, whose actual birthday was on December 31, used to work for P & O Roadways.

He was born in West Bromwich but now lives in The Walmers, Aldridge.

Have you had an unusual birthday celebration? Email editor@blackcountrybugle.co .uk or ring 01384 567678.

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