CATCHING UP: Near neighbours Bob Dale and Vic Leathem reunite after more than 40 years apart.
CATCHING UP: Near neighbours Bob Dale and Vic Leathem reunite after more than 40 years apart.

Truckies reunited by Big Rigs after 44 years

TWO trucking mates from the 1970s, who each thought the other had died, were reunited thanks to a story that ran in Big Rigs last month.

That was the yarn about the upcoming Alice Springs reunion for former employees of the now defunct company East Coast Transport.

Co-organiser Bob Dale put the call out for old colleagues to gather on August 23, but admits he was pleasantly surprised to get a phone call from Vic Leathem, who he worked with at the Sydney depot from 1970-75.

"After the Big Rigs' story I got a call out of the blue from Vic and to be honest I thought he had passed away. I hadn't heard from him since East Coast days. It was great to hear from him and we will be going together to the reunion,” Bob said.

The 74-year-old Bob lives at Narrandera in NSW which is just 100km from where Vic resides at Wagga Wagga.

Considering they live so close it is amazing they had never crossed paths for 44 years.

These days Vic runs V&S Freight which is a distribution and delivery business and was ready to unload at Bunnings in Wagga Wagga when Big Rigs phoned him on June 4.

Vic drives a UD Nissan which he describes as a 'great truck” and said he was delighted to hear about Bob and the reunion.

"A mate of mine saw the story about the reunion in Big Rigs and showed it to me. It had Bob's phone number included so I phoned him. It was really good to do that as I also thought he may not have been alive,” Vic said.

Vic had driven milk tankers in Victoria before getting a job with East Coast in 1970.

"I drove a White 7000 and 9000 and Road Commander and they were the best crew of blokes I have ever worked with. I have great memories and I am looking forward to catching up with more mates at the reunion,” Vic said.

Bob said that Vic and he would drive to Melbourne in August and then catch a plane to Alice Springs for the reunion.

The company had depots in all of the big capital cities and employed 400 to 500 drivers. 

More than 100 former employees are expected to be there. To reserve your slot, call Bob Dale, Ph 0428 995 196, or Robert Swan, Ph 0439 968 937.

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