An East Lancashire lorry driver is set to challenge himself against peers from around the world in an international competition.

Steve Metcalf from Barrowford, will travel to Sweden in March to participate in the first ever SPAR International Driver of the Year competition at Scania’s Head Office.

The competition will see Steve complete a driving test with a Scania instructor at the test track to measure driver performance with different vehicle combinations.

There will also be safety tests to complete and time and obstacle challenges to assess reversing and manoeuvring skills.

Participants will also get the opportunity to visit the Scania factory to see the latest vehicles, innovations, and drive a range of different Scania vehicles.

It has been an interesting road for Steve, who gained the first of his HGV licences after leaving his managerial position in the corporate world a decade ago.

He has been driving HGVs for 10 years at James Hall & Co. Ltd, SPAR UK’s primary wholesaler and distributor for the North of England, and Steve visits Yorkshire, Cumbria, the North Midlands, and stores around Lancashire in a typical working week.

Competitions like this are one of the benefits drivers can take advantage of being part of the wider SPAR network at James Hall & Co. Ltd, and SPAR is one of the world’s best known retail brands with a presence in 48 countries across four continents.

Steve said: “I am really looking forward to the challenge in Sweden. It will be a new one for me, but I am relishing the opportunity.

“When I left my desk job in the business world, I never thought the journey would take me to where I am today.

“I have no regrets and I have loved every minute of it. Among my colleagues, I have made some great friends for life at James Hall.

“I started out driving rigid trucks with my HGV 2 licence for James Hall, and then I had the chance to progress to achieve HGV 1 and I now drive articulated lorries.

“I absolutely love my job and my cab is the best office window in the world. You could not wish for a better one with the routes that I have.”

Transport manager at James Hall & Co. Ltd, Mark Shakeshaft, said: “Steve scored highly on a driving test and a theory test to secure his ticket to Sweden.

"Real-world telematic data taken from his truck formed the remaining criteria, and this too was excellent.

“We’re delighted to have the opportunity to take part in this competition through SPAR International and we are sure Steve will give a great account of himself on the big day.

“James Hall & Co. Ltd is a fantastic company to work for and we have some superb opportunities and benefits for our drivers within the Transport department, with this being one of them.

“We also have a number of initiatives that can support career changes and progression like Steve has enjoyed, and I would encourage anybody interested in visiting our website careers page for further details.”