Ipswich family’s tribute to lorry driver who was ‘a massive character’

Published: 4:30 PM January 3, 2022 Tributes have been paid to a “larger than life” family man from Ipswich who spent nearly four decades as an HGV driver.  Keith Rudland, from Chantry, has been remembered by his family for his “massive character” and love of watching the world go by – usually from the bench outside of his home. 

The 63-year-old was taken to hospital last July after suffering a stroke and heart attack in his sleep.  Paying tribute to the late husband, dad and grandfather, following their first Christmas without him, his daughter Charlene Gisby said he left behind many wonderful friends and family. 

The family of Keith Rudland have paid tribute to his larger than life character. 

The family of Keith Rudland have paid tribute to his larger than life character. – Credit: Charlene Gisby She said: “He was a larger-than-life character. He was always there for us and everyone else.

“Such a massive character and loved by so many. He loved sitting at home and watching TV, watching the world go by.”  With his gentle giant nature, the grandfather would often be “pottering around with cars”, watching TV or on his bench.

“He would be putting the world to rights with friends who came over, sat on his bench outside, with a cup of tea,” said Mrs Gisby. 

Keith Rudland was a HGV driver for nearly 40 years. 

Keith Rudland was a HGV driver for nearly 40 years. – Credit: Charlene Gisby His interest in cars was a passion his daughters remembered from a young age. Mrs Gisby said: “He was the go-to person if you needed anything and if he didn’t know he would send you to a mechanic.”

The grandfather-of-three worked for nearly 40 years as an HGV driver, and would complete many journeys over to Holland.  Born in Maidenhall, Ipswich, it was aged 22 that he met Dianne, his wife of 40 years.  The couple were “smitten” with each other after going out for the first time said their daughter. 

Keith Rudland pictured with his wife Diane celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary last year. 

Keith Rudland pictured with his wife Diane celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary last year. – Credit: Charlene Gisby

They married in 1981 in All Hallows Church, celebrating their ruby wedding anniversary last year.  Their family marked the milestone with a surprise afternoon tea. Mr Rudland died on July 29 last year.

He is survived by his wife Dianne,  two daughters Charlene and Shelley, and three grandchildren William, 10, Rio, 10, and four-year-old Lily-Rose. 

“They were his everything,” said his daughter.