Truck-mad disabled teenager has 18th birthday to remember thanks to generous Birmingham firm

A truck-mad disabled teenager had an 18th birthday he will never forget thanks to the generosity of a Birmingham driver training company.

Tom Hopwood, who celebrated his milestone birthday on October 27, loves watching videos of trucks on his iPad, so his family wanted to arrange a ride in a lorry for him as a special present.

Dad Andy and mum Sharon’s research had hit the buffers until Andy was advised by a work colleague to contact Kitts Green-based A1 Training Group, which quickly put the wheels in motion to make it happen – and all for free.

A1 Training’s Gary Speake arranged a tour of the company’s yard before waving Tom off on an hour-long trip around the streets of Chemsley Wood.

Tom, who has learning difficulties, epilepsy and cerebral palsy, was even able to stop off outside his grandparents’ house on the way.

The Fox Hollies School pupil was joined by Andy, 49, Sharon, 48, and younger brother William, 14, who all hail from Erdington.

Speaking about the experience, Andy said: “Tom has always loved lorries and is always looking at them on his iPad, so we thought he would love a trip in one for his birthday.

“We found someone in the south who could do it, but it would have cost us a fortune. A colleague at work suggested we give a training company a call, so I called A1 Training.

“I spoke to Gary, who straight away said he thought it was something he could sort out. We come across a lot of people who can ask the wrong questions about disabled people but Gary asked so many of the right questions – I can’t praise him highly enough.

“It made Tom’s day!”


Gary said: “Tom had a great time. After his drive round, it took us 10 minutes to persuade him to agree to get out of the truck!

“When Andy first got in touch with me, I had no problem agreeing. He also offered to pay, which I declined.

“We hope this gesture will have contributed to a truly memorable 18th birthday for Tom.”

For more details about A1 Training, visit: or search for A1 Training Group Birmingham on Facebook.