One of the UK’s oldest digger drivers is turning heads on building sites after his boss ordered him a brand new limited edition JCB to mark his 70th birthday.

John Storey has been operating diggers for more than 45 years and despite reaching his milestone anniversary has no plans to give up work.

And to mark his special birthday his bosses at the Leyburn, North Yorkshire-based Biker Group have given him a brand new, limited edition JCB 3CX backhoe painted in 1970s JCB livery to operate – a machine produced specially to mark JCB’s own 70th anniversary.

And unlike the machines of yesteryear driven by John, his new £75,000 digger comes with all mod cons – including a coffee machine and air conditioning.

The purchase had even more relevance for Biker Group, as it also coincided with Chairman and founder, Tony Biker’s 70th birthday too.

“When they turned up on the site with the 3CX I thought ‘what on earth is this?’ It was a real shock but a great birthday surprise and has helped me reminisce about some of the machines I have operated over the years,” says John Storey, of Leyburn.

Biker Group Business Development Manager Sam Biker – who is Tony’s youngest of three sons all working in the company – said:

“We bought the special 70th anniversary JCB machine to mark John’s birthday as it seemed the most appropriate gift,” says Biker Group Business Development Manager Sam Biker. “The added excitement for us all was that John knew nothing about it and so it came as quite a surprise when we revealed the present – the look on his face was a picture.

“John has been with us for more than 30 years and has operated many JCBs for the business throughout this period. He did do a bit of a double take when he saw the machine but is now putting it to good use to carry out ground works,” says Biker.

“It was also bought because of our long affiliation with JCB and the unique attachments it comes with. We also felt it would hold its value in the same way the 60th Anniversary machine has done, which due to its uniqueness has subsequently attracted interest from all over the world.”

The company, which provides diverse services to the construction industry, was set up in 1970 by Tony Biker and has grown to provide a diverse range of services, including construction, bespoke joinery, ground works, haulage, concrete and materials handling.

It now employs a total of 170 people directly and many more through sub-contracting. The machine was bought from JCB dealer TC Harrison which has a long-standing sales and after-sales customer-care relationship with Biker.

The 3CX is one of a limited 70th anniversary run decked out in a striking yellow, red and white livery – last seen on the JCB 3CIII model 40 years ago. However, it is fitted with an air-conditioned cab, a heated seat and even has a built in coffee machine.