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Barbara hits the road

Long-serving Yodel employee Barbara retires after 40 years

The Willenhall workforce at UK independent parcel carrier Yodel have said a fond farewell to HGV driver, Barbara ‘Babs’ Cheetham, who has retired from the company after 40 years.

Barbara, from Dudley, has been collecting trailers of parcels from retail clients all over the country and bringing them back to Yodel’s Willenhall site for sorting, before they go out to the carrier’s nationwide network of depots for onward delivery to customers.

Having started as one of just three female HGV drivers at Securicor – which later became Yodel – in 1979, Barbara has seen first-hand the progress in the industry in terms of technology, safety and diversity. Prior to working in logistics, Barbara was in the Army and used the teamwork and perseverance skills that she learned there to help her as a driver.

Her colleagues at Willenhall presented her with a watch, bouquets of flowers and US dollars for her planned trip to Florida, while Barbara shared a buffet to celebrate her last day.

Barbara commented: “I’m quite petite for a HGV driver, but it didn’t take long for colleagues to see that I could do the job, although I think people are still surprised when they see me jump down from the cab of a 44 tonner!

“I’ve loved working for Yodel, everyone pulls together, especially during busy periods like Christmas, and we’re out on the roads in all sorts of weather. The people are what makes the work great and I’ve particularly enjoyed our charity fundraising activities.”

Ryan Kelly, transport operations manager, Yodel, said: “Barbara has been a fantastic colleague and we wish her all the best in her retirement. It’s testament to the company and her colleagues that Barbara has worked with us for forty years. She’s been heavily involved in the community work that we do and has helped raise thousands of pounds for local charities.”

Barbaraconcluded: “Driving a HGV is a lot easier now than it used to be as there are a number of devices to increase your safety on the road. The loading has improved too thanks to many of the parcels being on pallets. I’ll miss driving my lorry because you can see the whole road ahead of you, but my little Hyundai car is definitely more practical.”

Towards the end of her career Barbara moved away from driving long-distance routes to work in the sort operation and has been both a fire marshal and first aid recorder. Barbara plans to spend her retirement playing golf, gardening and spending time with her family.  

To find out more about working for Yodel, and the roles and training available, visit or text ‘Deliver’ to 84433. 

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