Moody Logistics and Storage has paid a unique and fitting tribute to the memory of former driver Peter who died earlier this year following a prolonged illness.

The 57-year-old from Bedlington, who worked for the family-run firm for five years, was well known as an enthusiastic advocate of red squirrels. Even at his funeral, the donations in lieu of flowers went to conservation partnership Red Squirrels Northern England (RSNE).

Now, with the blessing of his family, the Cramlington-based company has named one of its 18 tonne trucks ‘Geordie Squirrel’ – complete with red squirrel graphics – in his honour.

Peter’s daughter Jessica Marszalkowski said: “It’s so lovely to know that dad was loved and respected not only by his family and friends but by those who worked alongside him.

“He would be really chuffed to know Moody’s has chosen to remember him by naming a truck after a cause he was so passionate about.”

His niece Emily Leightley added: “I understand that he was fond of wildlife and nature from an early age and was a member of RSNE because he cared so much about the future of the red squirrel.”

Peter joined Moody’s in 2018 making deliveries to the Scottish Borders. Following his cancer diagnosis, he switched to making drops closer to home, building up strong relationships with customers in the Ashington, Blyth, and Cramlington areas.

Bedlington born and bred, he had previously worked as a truck driver for Sanray Freight, SP Logistics, and as an agency driver.

Richard Moody, operations director of Moody Logistics, said: “Peter was a popular and highly regarded member of our team and everyone in the company wanted to honour his memory.

“We have a tradition of naming our trucks prefixed by ‘Geordie’ to reflect our home region and heritage and we thought it would be fitting to name one  ‘Geordie Squirrel’ to reflect the huge regard everyone had for him and to help promote the cause he held so dear.”

Donations following Peter’s funeral service at St Bede’s RC Church, Bedlington, raised more than £500 for RSNE, a project partnership comprising Northumberland Wildlife Trust, in partnership with other northern Wildlife Trusts, Forestry Commission, Red Squirrel

Survival Trust and Natural England. Moody Logistics and Storage also donated a further £250 to the cause.

Mike Denbury of RSNE added: “The wonderful donation from Peter’s family and friends and Moody Logistics and Storage will enable RSNE to purchase cameras which will be used as part of our annual spring survey which is led by volunteers including people who are just as enthusiastic as Peter was. The results of the survey will help us plan our future red squirrel conservation efforts.”

Catherine Kirkham, Fundraising Manager of Northumberland Wildlife Trust, said: “We are so grateful when we receive donations from members of the public and are always deeply moved when family members choose to remember us when their loved ones have passed away. We rely on the support of donors to deliver the work that we do so this donation will be put to very good use by our red squirrel conservation team.”

RSNE works to protect red squirrels across Northumberland, Tyne & Wear, County Durham, Cumbria, North Yorkshire, Lancashire and Merseyside, where they are still found in the wild. It does this by leading networks of grey squirrel management and red and grey squirrel monitoring programmes, investing in community-led conservation, and developing new approaches to conserving reds

Peter, who died on 12th January, also leaves a sister Julia, and nephews and nieces Sophie, Aaron, Philip, Naomi, and Carly, and great niece Paisley.