Bonnybridge businessman takes Lifetime Achievement Award

The winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award for 2019 was John Cooper of Storage UK Ltd.

Initially this accolade was intend for someone who had played a prominent role in the Falkirk district business community for a considerable time.

However, we quickly discovered that many of recipients still had a lot to achieve – and plenty of life left in them too! Therefore it became known as Business Personality of the Year.

This year’s recipient could easily receive either accolade but, and given his lengthy business involvement in the area, it was decided to award a Lifetime Achievement.

Born in Southend-on-Sea, after a spell in insurance and National Service in the Army, he started in the transport industry working with his brother in east London in the early 1950s.

Their Tartan Arrow Service initially had three vehicles moving furniture from factories in the south of England to stores in Scotland but as the business grew so did their fleet to 400 lorries.

In the late 1960s they were acquired by the government’s National Freight Corporation and, under the terms of the deal, spent the next five years contracted to work with them. Suffice to say they were glad when 1974 came and they could leave.

The brothers also decided to go their own way and John set up Clan Storage and Distribution, now part of Ecosse Holdings Ltd with warehouses across Falkirk district and Cumbernauld.

His son Derek joined the business in 1990 when Storage UK Ltd was founded and now has five warehouses in Bonnybridge on a three acre site with depot networks throughout the UK and Europe. These warehouses serve blue-chip companies in central Scotland and are serviced by a transport network throughout the UK and overseas.

But that’s just a part of John’s business interests. He also has A Taste of Scotland Ltd, which involves agriculture, food and drink, as well as property through Strathnairn, which was responsible for building 50 affordable houses in the Highlands.

He rears some of Scotland’s finest, pedigree Highland cattle and they regularly pick up winner rosettes at numerous shows, with his exported cattle winning national championship awards in Finland, Germany and Switzerland.

In his spare time, he tells me that he does have some, his interests over the years have included sailing, even forming a sailing club in 1969 that now boasts Olympic gold medallist Shirley Robertson had her sailing lessons there. He has also developed interests with Forth Valley Royal Hospital and Forth Valley Cricket Trust.

Now almost 85, John is still very much hands on in all his business interests – and is still working full-time, six days a week.

But he considers himself fortunate to be kept busy. He says that he has no intention of retiring and decaying.

Business for John has always involved family, first his brother, then with his wife Margaret, who was by his side until her sad death earlier this year, and now with son Derek.

Yes this business personality has achieved a considerable amount ... but be assured if he has his ways, there’s plenty more to come.