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Bill Hanley died suddenly on 9 August, aged 81.

Hanley played a key role in developing the TNT Express business. He was a director of Inter County Expressand remained with the company when the directors accepted a takeover offer from TNT in back in 1978, this led to him taking on various senior management roles at TNT UK.

Born in Edenfield, Lancashire in 1932, Hanley left school at 14 to train as an apprentice mechanic and later served in the RAF (1949-1952) as a driver and mechanic mostly in Germany.

On leaving the RAF, he purchased his first five-tonne truck to work as a self-employed driver delivering coal.

Hanley worked his way up through a series of roles from driver to foreman at David Halls, Lancashire, and traffic operator at R Knowles & Sons, in Ramsbottom, Greater Manchester, where in 1966 he became transport manager.

In 1971 Hanley was involved in a management buyout, when Knowles Vanlines was acquired from United Carriers. The new company continued to grow, buying G Hoyles which operated fifteen vehicles under contract for Smith and Nephew. In 1974, the company expanded even further by the amalgamation of Knowles Vanlines with Dickinsons Transport of Rossendale, to form Inter County Express.

In 1982, Alan Jones took the helm as managing director, so Hanley took on the role of director and general manager of TNT UK.

Jones said of Hanley, in a statement released by TNT today: “I am immensely proud and honoured to have had the opportunity or working closely with Bill throughout the twenty four years I spent with TNT. He was the architect of so many of the innovative ideas which made TNT UK successful and I give him all the credit for our tremendous success story.

“TNT is all about team effort and every employee has an important role to play in the organisation. It is an ethos which Bill developed and continued to influence throughout his outstanding career with the company. He was a fantastic leader of teams of people who gave him total loyalty and respect in return.”

Hanley became chairman of TNT UK in 1999, following his role as director and chief general manager. After more than 25 years with TNT, he retired in 2006.

Alistair Cochrane, MD of TNT Express Services UK & Ireland, said: “Bill was regarded as one of the founders of the original business structure of TNT in the UK. A pioneer and inspirational leader within the transport and express delivery industry, Bill was instrumental in developing the TNT business into the success it has become today.”

Hanley was made a Member of the British Empire (MBE) in 1996 for service to the transport and express delivery industry.