Sawtry removal man who moved furniture for Prince Charles retires after 50 years
IN 50 years as a removal man, Peter Frake has come close to being stabbed, accidentally walked in on naked women, brushed shoulders with celebrities and been caught in the middle of a domestic row. The 66-year-old from Sawtry has even moved furniture for
IN 50 years as a removal man, Peter Frake has come close to being stabbed, accidentally walked in on naked women, brushed shoulders with celebrities and been caught in the middle of a domestic row.
The 66-year-old from Sawtry has even moved furniture for Prince Charles, met the Duke and Duchess of Kent, and been made a cup of tea by actor Nigel Havers during a move from London to Sussex.
But after working for Elphicks and then Abels in Huntingdon, which holds a Royal Warrant, when the auctioneers bought Elphicks' removals service, Mr Frake retired at the end of last month.
"You get all sorts of people and see all sorts of things in the removal business," he said. "Sometimes you would go upstairs and the ladies would have no clothes on. It doesn't seem to bother some people.
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"The thing is to say calm and try to be pleasant whatever happens. Moving can be very stressful especially if the couple are divorcing or the bailiffs are arriving, but you need to help them calm down."
Mr Frake had a reputation for staying calm - a handy attribute when a customer tried to stab him.
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"I think he had had a bit to drink. He was asleep in his chair and had not long returned from Africa and I think he was dreaming.
"I woke him up to ask him to sign a form because we were leaving and he came over aggressive with a knife. I sat down on the edge of the chair, grabbed his arm and took the knife off him.
"He rang up the firm afterwards and apologised. You do get the odd funny person."
He moved furniture for royalty when he spent two weeks working for The Prince's Trust, taking items from all over London to new offices in Regent's Park. He also helped move the Duke and Duchess of Kent from Henley on Thames to Kensington Palace, including moving their pianos upstairs.
He has moved everything over the years from hamsters in cages to cars and tractors.
"Put the heavy things on the bottom, always pack plates on their side, not flat, and put the glasses on top and put a pad of paper between each layer."
Among his leaving gifts was, very suitably, a set of luggage.
Mr Frake said will always love travelling and since retiring has visited his daughter in Toronto.
However, he always travels light.