As you read the story of Southern Recovery Services, view the photos, the history of Graham Attwater and June, the start of Southern Recovery Services in 1965, you'll discover we are a proud family run business with a long history in the recovery industry. Which makes us the No 1 for heavy on and off road recovery in the South East of England.

 

The photos, which are displayed on the website, are supplied by June, Graham's wife and right hand during his life.

 

Thanks from the Attwater Family.

 

June, Paul, Jane and Carl would like to thank all those that attended the Funeral of Graham Attwater.

Southern Recovery thank you for your continued support.

Please read on, and check back soon !

An old line up of Southern Recovery Vehicles at the Sayers Common workshop. Graham was an apprentice  tool maker  at CVA and showed a keen interest in June who was in the office.  After he finished his apprenticeship, he took on a workshop in Hove and started repairing cars on the evenings and the weekends.  He bought a recovery truck and started moving a few cars and light commercials. That was the start of Southern Recovery Services. Graham and June moved into the flat above the workshop. After a long courtship, June and Graham where married in Hove at a church ceremony.

As the business grew they moved from Hove to a workshop on the A23 at Hickstead, where the business continued to grow and they soon took over the Petrol Station and the workshop at Sayers Common.

The marriage caused a bit of a dilemma as Graham had his eyes set on a Scammel truck.  June had a wedding reception in mind. As you've probably guessed. a Scammel Explorer for the newly established recovery service was delivered.

They lived in a caravan at the back of the workshop in Sayers Common and the business continued to grow, Graham needed specialist vehicles for the heavy recovery and went about building these himself, in between the work which was coming in.  Graham and June continued to live in the caravan at the back of the workshop whilst having their house built in Albourne.

 

They eventually moved in to their new house and a few years later, their son, Paul was born. Graham started getting Paul interested in wreckers from the time he could climb up into the cabs.

As the business grew they moved from Hove to a workshop on the A23 at Hickstead, where the business continued to grow and they soon took over the Petrol Station and the workshop at Sayers Common.

Whilst the recovery was growing/ Graham decided to diversify and expand in to general road haulage in the UK and Europe. It was about this time that he was asked by a boat owner to take his boat, a Princess 38 motor cruiser. from the south of England to the south of France by road. This had never been done before! So he made some inquires, built a new low trailer to move the boat and with all the relevant paperwork and his trusted road foreman, Peter Burgess, they left for France.The team were pioneers in moving the boats by road.

 

As the recovery and haulage continued to grow, Graham and June where now running six trucks and building there own wreckers to stay ahead in the Heavy Recovery Industry. The colour scheme also changed from the light blue to the colours the company still use today; a dark blue and yellow. A regular sight on the back of the wreckers that Graham was driving at the Sayers Common,  was the Alsatian called Sultan. The haulage and the boat transportation started to take a back seat as the commercial vehicle recovery became Grahams main focus. June now had a new house, but still ran the office at the petrol station on one side of the road and the recovery yard on the other side of the road. June recalls often having to run across the road to fill customers cars with petrol, then running back to the yard to answer the phones.  Paul was growing up in the business learning the trade alongside school. Heavy oil is in his blood.

 

 

Photo: Mike Mahoney

Southern Recovery Services became a name in the heavy recovery industry and the work continued to come in. Graham had ideas for new recovery trucks and continued to build and make industry specific trucks and wreckers, that could cope with rolling a lorry and its load back on to it's wheels and towing them away.

So the colours changed to the blue and yellow we know today and the business grew. Graham was building heavy goods wreckers that where industry specific.  The haulage into Europe and throughout the UK was growing.  Over the next few years, Southern Recovery built some of the best trucks, trailers, cranes and wreckers in the industry.

The new wreckers were built to specification from the chassis up. This included up rated and stretched chassis, as well as up rated springs, brakes, gearboxes and engines. This was just the base of the truck.
 
The cab and operating system, wheather it be underlift or slidebed, were all made to fit, to do the job that they where built for. Graham was very particular and only the very best winches and operating systems were used, shipping parts in from all over the world, to make his trucks the best in the business.
 
Paul was working with Graham now, after serving his apprenticeship in engineering. He now helped Dad with the construction and welding on the new trucks. 
 
Paul, with Jane alongside him, and mother keeping an eye on him and a good staff level, continues to run the business today talking it to the next level.
 
 
 
 
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