HUDDERSFIELD man Martin Hellawell has only been in Canada for a few weeks – but he is already encouraging others to think about making the big move across the Atlantic.
He has settled in well to his new job as a truck driver and says he would be delighted to help anyone else who wants to carve out a new life.
Martin, who is 50 next week, made the journey to Canada after giving up work as a parking attendant in Huddersfield.
He performed what he thought of as an important job – but could not stand the hassle any longer.
"I say important because if there weren’t any parking attendants, the town would ground to a halt due to the inconsiderate, selfish, dishonest and just plain ignorant motorists that seem to thrive in Huddersfield.
"The parking attendants do a marvellous job in keeping traffic moving and providing a safe and secure environment in which to park. They do not deserve the abuse that motorists seem to think it is acceptable to hurl at them just for carrying out their public duty.
"When drivers receive parking tickets it is because they deserve them for parking in an illegal manner. It is not the fault of the parking attendant that they receive one, it is purely their own."
He was a Royal Mail delivery driver before becoming a parking attendant and decided to get back behind the wheel.
"But because I couldn’t face the prospect of trying to navigate my way round a country whose roads are constantly clogged up and have shrunk to such a degree that it’s impossible to get anywhere fast, I decided to move to Canada," says Martin.
It was surprisingly easy once he had made the decision.
"I did some research and discovered that there are many, many, companies who are recruiting drivers from England," says Martin.
"My application was made online in September 2007 and after a short period of checking references and other things, I was invited over for an interview in early December.
"I flew out on January 10 this year to start my new career and a new life.
"It is not as difficult a process as many people imagine it to be."
Wife Claire has supported him entirely in the new venture and went with him for his Canadian interview.
Along with son Ben, she will be joining him as soon as their Dalton house is sold.
Ben, 21, will join in the summer when he has finished his fine arts course at university in Carlisle. Daughter Laura, 24, will stay behind in Leeds, where she works for a charity as a debt counsellor.
First impressions are good in Canada.
Martin says: "So far I have discovered that the Canadians have a very pleasant attitude to customer service, the shopping prices are on a par with the UK and because of the exchange rate of 2 Canadian dollars to the pound, one can buy a very nice house.
"The roads are very straight and very long, the scenery is fantastic and when it snows, it’s like a winter wonderland everywhere."
At present, he is sharing a house in Brantford, Ontario, with another English driver who is waiting for his wife to join him in early March.
The city is on the Grand River in the south-west of the province and has a population of 90,192.
It suffered economic decline in the 1980s and 1990s, but the unemployment rate has steadily decreased in recent years.
Brantford is sometimes known by the nickname The Telephone City, after one of the city’s most famous former residents, Alexander Graham Bell.
The company Martin works for delivers throughout Canada and all 50 mainland states of America.
Martin extends an invitation to any UK driver to contact him by email if they require more details about working over there.
Thoughts of home are never far from his mind, he admits.
Martin says: "If I could just say through the excellent paper you produce, hello to all who know me and that I really am enjoying myself, although I would rather my family were here now, and that I hope to see all my friends again soon.
"Could I also wish Town every success against Chelsea in the forthcoming tie in the FA Cup and that they carry on their winning ways in the League."
And if you fancy buying their Huddersfield house, it’s for sale with Lancasters estate agents on 01484 532476
Contact Martin by email at firstname.lastname@example.org