Hugh Edeleanu TD. MA. BSc. Hons (Cantab)

Founder & Chairman – H.E. Group Ltd

Hugh with the former Chancellor of the Exchequer, The Right Honourable George Osbourne MP, taken during the Ex-Chancellor’s visit to H.E. Group’s headquarters in Strood on 17 November 2014.

Hugh welcoming Mr Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England, during his visit in March 2015.

Hugh welcoming Mr Mark Carney OC, former Governor of the Bank of England, during his visit in March 2015.

Since the first ever JCB backhoe loader rolled off the production line in Staffordshire in 1953, it seems that every little boy fantasized about driving one! Most of course grow up to pursue different careers or professions. Some however grow up to work in construction or civil engineering and become digger & dumper operators.

Well, Hugh Edeleanu did both of these. As a 16 year old he went out and bought a second-hand JCB! He then offered himself and his machine for hire to construction and civil engineering sites in Kent and the south-east.

This was all whilst he studied at King’s School Canterbury and then later graduated from Cambridge University with a BSc. Honours degree in engineering and continued on to earn his MA before launching what was the first ever, self drive construction-plant hire company in Europe, H.E. Services! A company which has been the definitive model for others to emulate and has since grown to become both world-class and one of the largest in Europe.

Building upon this success, and with the renamed H.E. Services (Plant Hire) Ltd at its core, Hugh’s business empire has metamorphosized into H.E. Group Ltd. 

The H. E. Group is also parent to Masterhitch Europe Ltd, which manufactures the famous “Hooker Hitch”. The safest, simplest and swiftest bucket and digger attachments hitch which Hugh himself invented and designed.

H. E. Group also includes Buy A Digger and EVision Electric Vehicles. 

As well as being sister company to “Diggerland”, another of Hugh’s visionary enterprises with its three, UK digger-themed adventure parks which went transatlantic with the opening in 2014 of Diggerland USA.

This remarkable achievement is made even more impressive by the fact that during those early years of building his original “one-man/one-machine” business into a thriving enterprise, Hugh also found time to join the British Army, Royal Engineers in 1974. This is when he rose through the ranks to Major and served his country doing bomb disposal during Operation Desert Storm in 1991.

Hugh recognises that a company is nothing without its people, and his success is due in no small measure to having built a first class team of professionals that is greater than the sum of its parts. Leading characteristically from the front, Hugh never shies from rolling his sleeves up and getting stuck in for whatever task needs doing, nor will he ask anyone to do anything he cannot or is not willing, ready and prepared to do himself.

As fearless as he is tenacious, neither the recession of the early nineties nor the global economic meltdown of 2008, or indeed the recent global Covid-19 pandemic could put either Hugh or his businesses down. It was a struggle of course and not without challenge and sacrifice, but thanks to Hugh’s drive, determination and dauntless character and the dedication, hard- work and loyalty of his staff, The H. E. Group of companies has emerged from each set back fiscally healthier, stronger, and well-placed for greater achievements.