King of the road Eddie Stobart left huge debts

Eddie Stobart, the man who made the haulage company a household name and had thousands of children looking out for his trucks, died bankrupt with debts of £220,000.

The former trucking boss had petitioned for bankruptcy in July last year and until his death in March, from heart problems, had been expected to be discharged automatically in the summer. He was 56.

He was listed on the national Insolvency Register as a company director and promoter under the name Edward Stobart. None of the £220,000 debts had been repaid.

Mr Stobart had taken over his father's fertiliser-delivery firm in 1976 when it had eight trucks. He built it into an international company which by 2001 had more than 1,000 trucks.

There was even an Eddie Stobart fan club, which at its peak boasted 25,000 members. His popularity was aided by his insistence his drivers wear a collar and tie and that they wave back when motorists hailed them.

He sold the business in 2004 to his brother and a business partner. As the Stobart Group it now has more than 2,200 vehicles worldwide. The sale price was estimated to be as much as £150m. He took over a company building lorry trailers, but it failed in 2009.

Ann Preston, chair of the rival haulage company Preston's of Potto, said he was "the most iconic figure that has ever been in this industry".