22.06.2020

William ‘Bill’ Elio Sands 1947-2020

We received the sad news this week that UK crane man Bill Sands died last Monday after a battle with cancer – he was 72.

Bill Sands was clearly a real 'old school' crane industry character, especially on the London crane scene. Around 20 years or so ago he left Emerson Crane Hire to establish his own company Premier Lifting Services to carry out contract lifts and was well known for being a bit of a 'chancer' and a bit of a rogue. But he was also kind and warm hearted, generous, funny and always always paid his bills and satisfied his customers.

We have already received a good number of comments from those who knew him best, which really sum up the big man better than we could possibly do. You can see them all below, and we will update this item as we gather more details on his early crane career and details of his funeral etc…
Bill Sands


Comments:

“I am very saddened at the news of the passing of Bill Sands. He was not only my employer for 13 years at Premier Lifting Services, he was a father figure to me since I was two years old. His passion for cranes and work ethic was unrivalled. I owe all my knowledge and success to Bill, as a lot of others in the industry do too. Many successful people in the industry have worked for or with Bill in the past and all have been in touch to offer their condolences with many funny stories of his antics which is lovely to hear.”

“I strive to be as successful and hard working as he was, with much, not all, of his knowledge passed onto me. Bill Sands was a ‘one of a kind’ and will be greatly missed.”

Daniel Snook
Snook’s Lifting & Engineering

“Shame to hear about Bill thoughts to the family”

Alec Glover
Terranova

“Such sad news to hear about Bill’s passing. What can you say about Bill? One of the industry’s true old school characters and someone that will be truly missed. Even through his more recent period of ill health you could always rely on Bill for an entertaining conversation and was always a pleasure to deal with. RIP Bill”

“Condolences and best wishes to all he has left behind.”

From ALL at Lee Lifting

“Bill Sands, one of the real characters of contract lifting and crane hire in London. He was the only guy who would hire a six axle Spierings mobile tower crane on a Saturday morning and use it on three different jobs and still be finished by one o’clock. Some jobs with permits some not. Most of the cranes from East London would travel in on the Highway E1 and the drivers would all wave at Bill who would be sat outside the pub with a pint and a cigarette at 7.00 in the morning. The pub would be open all night for those in the print trade.”

“City Lifting along with many other firms provided Bill with cranes for many years. He was a very kind and gentle character who I learnt a lot from years ago. He was probably one of the Pioneers in contract lifting. I had known Bill for maybe 35 years, and he always wore a dark suit.”

Trevor Jepson
City Lifting Limited

“Saddened to hear the passing of Mr Bill Sands, an industry veteran and a true character R.I.P. Thoughts are with his family and friends at this time.”

James Lawrence (J&M)
J&M Crane Hire

“Sad news about the loss of Bill Sands, he was a smashing person to deal with and I've known him for many years. In all that time he was mainly sloshed but there was never a better bloke to deal with. Always honest. A lot of people in the trade couldn't say a bad word about him and must be very thankful for all the help and advice that he gave them. He's in a safe place now and he lived his life to the maximum. Sad loss. A true diamond to the trade.”

Terry Cummins

“I have only known Bill/William just under 20 years, when I started working for Premier Lifting Services 17 years ago. Bill was definitely a one off and his team of Alan Murphy and Paul Jenkins (who have both sadly passed away) - the three cavaliers! Bill's sister Elvira would try her best to keep Bill in line.”

“His step son Daniel Snook could write a method statement at the age of 14-15, with all the measurements, most senior reps weren't that good. Bill was so proud of him. It was Bill that gave me my first crane, a 35t Kato, and helped me with insurance and work for six months, along with Terry Cummins who originally had London Crane Hire.”

“When I started writing this I found it very upsetting but just thinking of all the antics made me cry with laughter, some of the stories could never be explained because they were so unbelievable.”

“RIP Bill you were a legend to the crane industry. Very best wishes to all the family.”

Robbie Sturley
London Crane Hire & Engineering Services

Comments

Sherm
Every time I read about The passing of a fine gentleman or lady in the WAH industry, I am saddened by their life ending yet inspired by their dedication and sincerity to the trade. RIP Mr. Sands and thank you for Going Up in The World. Although I came into the trade late in my life age 51, I am trying my best to leave a good record and please many customers I serve.

Jun 25, 2020

Bill Frost
We are sorry to hear of the passing of Bill Sands from Premier Lifting Services, he was a great salesman, know for his quick wit, infectious laughter and compassionate spirit to get the job done, an asset to our mobile crane hire and contract lifting industry who will be sadly missed, our thoughts are with his family.

Jun 23, 2020

emailed comment
Bill Sands was a true gentleman one of lives natural characters and a family friend.

Bill had a strong passion for cranes and lifting, sometimes bending the rules slightly but he always completed his jobs. He would only hire guys he knew and trusted and would not suffer fools. Whenever Bill asked for help with a job it was always a pleasure and normally a nice easy job.

Bill you will be truly missed by so many and such a huge loss to the crane industry.
Rest in peace and don’t let my dad give you to much grief up there.
Colin Murphy
Nationwide Lifting Solutions Ltd

Jun 22, 2020

emailed comment
I first met Bill when I was a boy, when he worked for London Lifting next to my dad's breakers yard. He was always a nice guy who had time to chat and laugh with me.

As a professional I worked with Bill when I started my own business. He always supported me and we worked together a fair bit over the last few years. He was a very nice man, and I know that I as well as lots of others will miss him a great deal.
Sending my thoughts to his family at this sad time.

Jimmy Randall on behalf of Randalls Crane Hire Ltd

Jun 21, 2020

Murphy
Bill Sands was a true gentleman one of lives natural characters and a family friend.
Bill had a strong passion for cranes and lifting, sometimes bending the rules slightly but he always completed his jobs. He would only hire guys he knew and trusted and would not suffer fools. Whenever Bill asked for help with a job it was always a pleasure and normally a nice easy job.

Bill you will be truly missed by so many and such a huge loss to the crane industry.

Rest in peace and don’t let my Dad give you to much trouble up there.

Colin Murphy
Nationwide Lifting Solutions Ltd

Jun 21, 2020
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