Rags-to-riches story of one of Worksop’s most successful entrepreneurs

Self-made entrepreneur and opportunist Frank Canning at work.
Self-made entrepreneur and opportunist Frank Canning at work.

The rags-to-riches story of one of Worksop’s most successful entrepreneurs has been told in a book that is being promoted again as an inspiration to others.

As Frank Canning, aged 83, enters the final chapters of his remarkable life, the book, ‘Opportunity: A True Story’, delivers an entertaining account of his revelational journey.

From extreme poverty and humble beginnings, Frank rose to become the head of a worldwide engineering trading company, not to mention an accomplished artist and author.

He is now plagued by Parkinson’s disease and the early stages of dementia, but he and his family hope the book will ensure that his reputation as one of Worksop’s most enduring characters will never be forgotten.

Frank was born in 1935 in an old, disused railway carriage that stood on Marsh Lane in Thorne.

“It had no wheels or axles because they had been removed for the war effort,” he recalls. “It stood there, slightly tipped at one end as it sunk into the marsh.”

Frank remembers drinking tea out of jam jars, because the only cups the family of 12 had were for ‘mam and dad’, and using newspapers for tablecloths.

But by the age of 11, he had embarked on his first entrepreneurial venture, expressing his creative skills by making animals out of plywood and selling them in the local shop for threepence each.

From there, his artistic talents held no boundaries, even when he worked down the pit. Nearly every coal tub in the mine had one of his cartoons or drawings on them, and he went on to win major awards for his artwork.

In 1965, Frank founded Canning Conveyors Ltd, now based on the Sandy Lane Industrial Estate. The family-run company was a huge success and delivers quality products to a diverse range of industries, from food and agriculture to film, TV and theatre.

Films such as ‘Superman’, ‘101 Dalmatians’ and ‘Indiana Jones and the Temple Of Doom’ have benefited from Canning’s expertise, as have live music events featuring stars such as Madonna and Robbie Williams.

However, the real star, of course, is Frank Canning himself. Driven by sheer determination and inspired by a rollercoaster of experiences. His book, priced £8.99, is available to buy from Amazon, and various local shops.