October 31 2014 Latest news:
Wednesday, September 3, 2014
When Bernie Walker started working with Vauxhall cars, the faithful Viva was just beginning to roll off the production line.
Now, half a century on - and many models later - the 65-year-old is still working as a vehicle technician for Vauxhall.
Mr Walker, who recently picked up a long-service award from his employers - Thurlow Nunn, in Mile Cross Lane, Norwich - could have retired when he reached the landmark, but has decided to sign up for another year.
The divorced grandfather-of-two from Stratton Strawless, north of Norwich, said: “I started working for Vauxhall as an apprentice on August 26, 1964. It was the day after my 15th birthday - you had to be 15 to be able to work.”
Since then, he has worked for Vauxhall dealerships in various locations, and through various different name changes.
“I started work at Delves motors in Mountergate, Norwich. I have flitted about quite a bit since. I worked in Ber Street and Aylsham Road, and I’ve been with Thurlow Nunn in Mile Cross Lane two or three years.
“There’s nothing special about what I do. I’m just a technician. I like what I do. I’m not someone who wants to try different things.
“I could have retired but I’ve opted to stay on for another year, and then we’ll see.”
He was recently presented with an engraved gold watch in appreciation of his long service.
Another Thurlow Nunn employee with the surname Walker, but unrelated, also picked up an award at the presentation.
Melvyn Walker started his career as Bernie Walker’s apprentice 25 years ago and jokingly called him “Dad” when they collected their long service awards. Melvyn started as an apprentice vehicle technician on July 31, 1989.
Bernie Walker added: “He’s been my protégé but he’s got a long way to go to catch me up. I cannot believe how 50 years has just flown by, especially the last few years.”
Mr Walker’s daughter, Sian Walker, who lives in Lowestoft, said: “He should retire but shows no signs of slowing down.”
Gary Osborn, regional director Thurlow Nunn, said: “Even after 50 years, Bernie is still exceptionally enthusiastic about his job, he just loves fixing cars and is usually the first one to arrive at work in the mornings, we’d love him to stay for another 50 years.
“Thurlow Nunn is a family-owned business and we are very proud of the high level of staff retention and in turn the large number of long service awards received by staff members for 25 years’ service with the company.”
Have you worked for 50 years for the same firm in Norwich? Email firstname.lastname@example.org