Tribute to town businessman

Ed Murray (second left) with fellow Army veterans
Ed Murray (second left) with fellow Army veterans

THE proud son of a town businessman and army veteran has paid a heartfelt tribute to the “bravest man he has ever known”.

Ed Murray, who founded Hartlepool-based road haulage company Ed Murray and Sons, passed away last Sunday morning following a short battle with liver cancer.

Ed, who died aged 86, served in Normandy, Belgium, Holland and Germany during the Second World War and drove a Diamond-T tank-transporter before being injured by a landmine in 1945.

He then went on to run the hugely successful haulage business for more than five decades.

After his sad passing, his oldest son, Pete, 44, told the Mail: “He has shaped me into the person I am today, he was my moral compass and he was the bravest man I have ever known.”

Ed, the son of a pitman, was born in Maltby, in North Yorkshire, but grew up in Horden and Hartlepool.

After serving one year and 286 days in the Army, he headed back to Hartlepool and throughout the 1950s worked scraping coal off the beaches, ultimately supplying it to major power stations.

Pete says Ed became more of a businessman in the 1960s and started involving himself in plant hire and transport, going on to secure work to flatten most of the site at Seal Sands.

But that wasn’t before he got to try his hand at something completely different – and co-starred in a short movie about the life of a sea-coal man, called Low Water, which received wide acclaim at various film festivals.

Ed formed the haulage company in 1973 and overcame a downturn in the 1980s to establish the firm as a household name in the town.

The dad-of-three lost his wife and constant companion, Sylvia, who died of a heart attack in 1998, aged 64.

He also began to suffer with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), but didn’t let the condition deter him from work, even maintaining his HGV licence until he was 84.

“He was a very honest man in business,” said Pete, who’s married to Bryony, 33.

“He loves being remembered for his Army days and is particularly proud of his work at Seal Sands and the Town’s Pipe Mill. He is proud of the film he made and very proud of the fact he created the business.”

Ed, who lived on the Headland, was a dad of Pete, Ian, 42, and Maria Walsh, 58, and granddad of Pete’s children Iris, four, and William, two, Ian’s daughter, Hannah, 12, and Maria’s son, Richard Walsh, 21.

He was diagnosed with cancer in July this year and Pete added: “We knew his time was short but my dad had more to do.”

“He would like to have stuck around a little bit longer. My dad liked to tell it how it was, he was unforgettable. What a man.”

Ed’s funeral will be held at Durham Crematorium, in South Durham Road, in Durham, at midday on Wednesday. There will then be a reception at Constable’s Bar, in the Borough Hall, on the Headland. All are welcome at both.