Following the recent passing of Translift founder Freddy Brown, his son Simon has issued the following statement, and is inviting all who knew his father to attend a celebration of his life:
Born 2nd April 1937 in Hampshire, Fredrick Leslie Brown grew up during the Second World War in the Prince of Wales pub near to a US military base. Freddy left school with a string of sporting achievements but in his words “unable to read or write”.
At a time of conscription, Freddy opted to find an apprenticeship at a local forklift manufacturer called Lansing Bagnall where he found not only his life passion but also the love of his life and wife of 53 years.
Despite his earlier academic shortcomings, Freddy achieved a Masters Degree in applied mathematics and chose as his thesis 'Space utilisation within the warehouse', which many would argue was a project he continued with throughout his life.
A move to the Midlands in the mid 1960s brought many changes, not least two children and a new circle of friends based around the waterskiing community in Netherton. It was during this period he became British Champion and subsequent years saw him featured every week in the title sequence of World of Sport.
At the same time, Freddy had pioneered a new type of forklift which combined space saving and order picking to create the Man Rising VNA forklift, which is now established worldwide as the industry standard. Fast forward a few years, and a new invention to save space saw his trucks featured on BBC’s Tomorrow's World and this led on to the numerous innovative steps which are credited to Freddy by the industry.
When he felt he was no longer competitive at waterskiing, Freddy threw himself into his next sporting passion of snow skiing where he excelled at the highest level of both off- and on-piste skiing.
The 1980s saw him make another sea change in the industry when he pioneered the articulated truck with the Bendi which was viewed with much derision at its conception. The Bendi has since gone on to be a huge success as it has been now sold worldwide in its tens of thousands and created a whole new market sector.
In 2003 Freddy received the Queen's Award for Innovation, which was presented to him by the Queen at Buckingham Palace.
As anybody who knew him knows, Freddy’s sense of fun never left him and that you had to be permanently on your toes for the practical jokes and general mischief. For this reason, we have decided that there will be no traditional wake but a celebration of his life with the retelling of his escapades and many hilarious incidents and accidents.
The Life Celebration will be held on October 31st from 1pm at Brockencote Hall, Chaddesley Corbett, Nr Kidderminster, DY10 4PY. There will be no dress code as Dad wouldn’t want black and morbid, so it's casual and cheerful. Also please no floral tributes as we have set up a JustGiving page to help fight this horrible disease.