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In 1978 I was chairman of Cooper's, a company which ran 127 vehicles of various weights and sizes. We 32 ______ in transporting goods by road.
My father had founded the firm in 1931, starting out with three vehicles — two of them driven by horses. By the time we became Cooper & Son in 1967, the company had 33 ______ in obtaining seventeen big trucks and delivered goods all over the north of England.
My father insisted that I leave school the moment I passed my О levels. "I'll teach you more about the real world in a month than you'd learn from any of those university types in a lifetime," he 34 ______ to say. I followed his advice and never 35 ______ it. I left school a few weeks after my sixteenth birthday. The next morning I joined Cooper's as an apprentice, and spent my first three years at the depot under the watchful eye of Buster Jackson, the works manager. He taught me how to take the company's trucks 36 ______ and, more important, how to put them back together again.
After graduating from the workshop, I spent five years in different departments. When my father retired in 1977 — at the age of seventy — I took over as chairman. Then I began to set in motion some ideas I'd been working on for the past decade, 37 ______ I knew my father didn't approve of them. I never 38 ______ him, but Europe was only the beginning of my plans for the company s expansion.