PIONEER: Jacqueline Emily Southern, with several of her grandchildren, was inducted into the National Road Transport Hall of Fame in 2005.
PIONEER: Jacqueline Emily Southern, with several of her grandchildren, was inducted into the National Road Transport Hall of Fame in 2005. Contributed

Family seek fitting send-off for 'Lady John'

COMMONLY known as 'Lady John' or 'Johnny' in the trucking industry, Jacqueline Emily Southern spent decades on the roads, driving a host of different vehicles across the country.

She stayed involved in the trucking industry up until the day she passed on Valentine's Day of this year, raised ten kids along the way and was inducted into the National Road Transport Hall of Fame in 2005.

Carting firewood, mail, frozen rabbits, wool, produce and everything in between, Mrs Southern blazed a trail for women in what was, and sometimes still is, seen as a profession which only men could do.

Her family are looking to give her a fitting send-off at the 2017 Lights on the Hill Memorial.

Although Mrs Southern sat behind the wheel of many vehicles in her time, her favourite was a yellow B Model Mack which she nicknamed Big Bird.

Her family are searching for someone with the same model to donate their time and truck to attend the memorial on October 1 on behalf of Mrs Southern and, if they are also willing, include a tribute to her on the run the day before.

Daughter Valda Palmer, who lives in Ipswich, said her pioneering Mum deserved a final hurrah in true trucker's fashion.

"She always believed that she never did anything out of the ordinary,” Ms Palmer said.

"She'd give anyone the shirt off her back, if a truck driver was struck somewhere and had no money or food, she'd giving everything that she had if she had to.

"We always told her she'd done so much for the trucking industry, whether she knew it or not.”

Granddaughter Heidi-Maree Blake, of Lockrose, is urging anyone with a B Model Mack to get in contact in order to give Lady John a send-off reserved for so many other legends of the road.

"I don't have money to offer but I will buy them a drink at the pub and my family can tell them her story,” Ms Blake said.

"They would get the honour of making a difference to the healing of a family still impacted greatly by her passing.

"She deserves a final tribute with her favourite truck on show.”

To get in touch with the family, send an email to hblake83@outlook.com.


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