Hearing his name called to receive the Fork Lift Truck Association’s highest honour at the Annual Awards for Excellence, left Douglas Gillespie stunned.

“It’s a wonderful surprise, and a credit to the success of our team,” said the founder and Managing Director of Scotland’s premier forklift dealer, Douglas Gillespie Plant.

Having joined the FLTA in 1972, founding member Douglas became only the ninth recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award in the prestigious event’s history.

FLTA President Paul Nichol who presented the award, revealed that Douglas’ nomination had attracted an “unprecedented raft of supporting letters”.   A longstanding Douglas Gillespie Plant customer summed up the company founder as “the embodiment of the forklift industry in Scotland”.

Nichol added, “His customers emphasised our winner’s integrity, his fairness and his passionate commitment to customer service. His employees highlighted his support and genuine care, inspiring loyalty and excellence in equal measure. The company that bears his name remains one of the most successful and highly regarded fork lift companies in Scotland, if not the whole UK”.

The presentation took place at a glittering awards ceremony at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole hotel, on Valentine’s Day, in front of a large audience, including the materials handling industry’s leading figures.

When Douglas commenced operations in East Kilbride, Glasgow, in 1968, his company had just two employees and six forklift trucks.