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Hercules Charity Challenge

18th June 2024 @ 6:06am – by Webteam
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Paul Woodcock and his son Olly, together with Peter Cauley, run an agricultural engineering business in Wood Orchard Lane, but also specialise in "heritage" projects.

Harold Hankey owned the yellow recovery truck "Hercules" for many years, Paul and Olly have now taken ownership and carried out major restoration work

Paul Woodcock was diagnosed with cancer in 2007, and after 12 years of various operations and Chemotherapy, Paul has now been in remission for almost 5 years.

Now Paul and his family would like to help raise money to continue the research needed towards Cancer and also to give the Cancer centre at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham a donation to show his thanks to all the staff for their care and dedication to their profession which helped save Paul's life!

When the challenge has finished they will split the donations between the two charities.

Please note that the full running costs for this challenge have been covered by sponsorship (detailed below).

The Hercules Charity Challenge

To drive Hercules from John O' Groats to Lands End.

Note that Hercules has atop speed of 45mph and will probably rarely exceed 40 mph, and will not be using Motorways – only A roads!

Starting Wednesday 19th June 2024 stopping off at Kelsall Steam Rally (22nd & 23rd) before finishing the journey at Lands End.

Money raised will be divided between Cancer Research and the Cancer Centre at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham.

For more information on this event and how to Donate to this great cause please contact either

  • Kath -- 07989 035796
  • or Karina -- 07817 911684

and to donate electronically click


  • GSDavies +Sons fuel
  • Funival farms LTD fuel
  • Old Ford farms LTD fuel
  • Bassetts fuel & Recovery (if needed!)
  • Trent Fasteners Accom
  • Hungersheath farm CD Accom
  • StoneTyres – Tyres

History of "Hercules"

hercules history

Bassett's heavy recovery wagon, aptly named "Hercules, was built In February 1940 as a 6 wheeled truck, model DG6/10, part of 102 for the War Department, and in this case supplied to the RAF. It was later converted to a crane, and fitted with replacement ELW engine. It was acquired by Bassett's for spare parts.

At the time, if one of Bassettt's larger vehicles suffered a breakdown, the Ex Army 6 wheeled Austin then in service as a recovery truck was not powerful enough to tow in the heavier lorries. One of the 6 wheelers had to be taken off normal duties for the job.

Consequently, Reg Bassett took up the suggestion of Jock Bell the workshop foreman, that he should use the redundant Foden chassis. Re-inforced with that of an Atkinson, that had been withdrawn after an accident, to construct a heavy duty recovery vehicle. Jock obtained a solid tyred Foden logging truck, from which he salvaged the double reduction gearbox and winch, to equip the new truck. Foreman body builder Ken Halfpenny constructed a coach built cab and workshop body, with bench and toolbox, to Jock's requirements.

The new vehicle took the roads as "Hercules", and also carried Fleet Number 1. Initially it used the trade plate 826E, but later carried 444 RF, which are still the trade plates held by Bassett's Nowadays (since 1996) "Hercules carries Q532 GVT. The first livery was light blue upper parts and dark blue body, this was laterchanged to a version of the standard Bassett blue and red, but latterly "Hercules" has been painted in all over yellow.

*Hercules" was constructed with features common to Foden's own original heavy duty recovery truck "Goliath".

As Jock had improved the design by introducing extra ballast, in the form of railway lines and carefully positioning the crane, the vehicle could lift 12-13 tons, Hercules soon became widely known to the Police as the heaviest breakdown crane in the area, and was "on call" for many years earning some useful revenue for Bassett's.

Kelsall Steam Ralley

for full details and how to book tickets, please click


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