THE boss of a removal firm is handing over the reins to his son after more than 40 years of moving families to the four corners of the UK.

Bernie Lawrence, 74, from Stanford-le-Hope, is stepping back from running Hockley Transport, which will now see son Kevin take over.

Mr Lawrence, who bought the business in 1972, has been moving south Essex families across the country and was even responsible for moving both the Thurrock Gazette and Echo into their offices in Grays, Basildon and Southend.

Mr Lawrence, who also owned Bernie’s Cabs, says the physical demands of the job are forcing him to take a step back.

He said: “It is getting a bit difficult to recover after jobs now - I’ll be 75 this year.

“I do enjoy the job and started out as a driver’s mate with the Co-op when I was 17. The previous owner of Hockley’s went on to the Isle of Man, and he offered me the business.”

Mr Lawrence was able to build the business up to the extent where he had seven staff and two distinctive orange lorries.

New boss Kevin says it will prove difficult to stop his dad from working, and that he will still help out from time to time.

He said: “He’s really strong, and runs rings around people half his age. For long-distance jobs he will still come with me, because it gets dangerous if one person is driving more than 300 miles.”