The haulage community came together in remembrance of Magnus Slater (pictured), founder of Scottish distribution firm M&H Carriers, at a memorial held in Aberdeen last week.

He passed away unexpectedly in July from a sudden heart attack at the age of 67.

Slater was described as a “well respected leader in the parcel business in Scotland”, a “true one off character” and a “legend” by his industry peers in touching tributes on social media.

Born in Australia, he moved with his family to Scotland at a young age. After serving in the army where he completed tours in Northern Ireland and with the United Nations – and a stint working as a butcher – he found his calling in the haulage and distribution industry as a driver, shop steward and depot manager.

M&H Carriers was launched after Slater quit his job following a disagreement with his boss.

He began with a car and trailer operating from a council house in Aberdeen and grew the business into an international operation with hubs in Aberdeen, Inverness, Argyll and Dundee, fuelled by his passion and strong drive to succeed.

Slater built the business organically, growing around his customers’ needs and living by the mantra that “if you want something, you need to work for it”, which allowed him and the business to weather many storms and which inspired many of his team to stay with the company for decades.

Throughout his tenure with M&H Carriers, Slater was known as someone who was never afraid to get his hands dirty – often jumping behind the wheel of a truck or forklift when needed and never asking anyone to do anything he wouldn’t do himself.

He thrived in new situations – always the first to take on deliveries to new locations or join the first shifts when new depots opened.

Slater returned to Australia in 2003, and in 2019 moved to the semi-retired role of chairman, leaving the day-to-day operations of M&H Carriers to MD Fraser MacLean.

Despite his reduced role, he was still involved in decision making and helping shape the future of the company – along with his passion for purchasing fleet vehicles, with a reputation for negotiating hard with many motor dealers.

Those close to him say that Slater leaves behind him a considerable legacy – not just in his reputation for excellence and his sense of humour, but also for his work ethic, willingness to roll up his sleeves, and his passion for supporting SMEs like his own.

Leading the tributes to Magnus Slater, MD Fraser MacLean said: “This is an incredibly sad day for all the people that have worked with Magnus over the years. He was a true one-off, and anyone who dealt with him will be able to vouch for that. Our thoughts are with all of Magnus’ family at this time.”

When not working, Mr Slater was an avid cook, loved to travel and explore the world, and kept fish at his home in Australia.

His zest for novel experiences showed itself prominently in his personal life: he bungee jumped off Victoria Falls, cage dived with sharks, and quad biked through minefields in Cambodia on his travels.

He leaves behind his wife Tracy; children Sam, Richard and Alexis; and grandchildren Josh, Adam, Quinn, Luke and Ellis.