A quarter-century has flown by for seven Norwich aircraft engineers who started working on the same day – and are still working together 25 years later.

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The ‘magnificent seven’ at KLM UK Engineering have lived through five prime ministers, two Gulf Wars, two recessions and a company takeover since their first day together in 1987.

Mark Francis, Stuart Picton, Keith Bailey, Mark Harley, Robert Mason, Simon Howes and Richard Kerton replied to a job advert in the Eastern Daily Press as teenagers, and trained together and graduated together at Norwich airport.

They have now been presented with long-service certificates by KLMUKE, and recreated the picture taken 21 years ago on their graduation – albeit with a few differences.

Mr Picton, a team leader, said he remembered receiving his first pay slip, which he has kept to this day. “We each got £36 a week which was a lot of money when you think we were trainees and this was our first job,” he said.

Managing director Paul Chun said there were now 56 employees with at least 25 years’ service.

“It’s most impressive how seven apprentices who joined the company in 1987 are still with us today, and testament to what a good company KLM UK Engineering is to work for.

“Some of them are still working hands-on in the hangars, others are dedicated to supporting them as technical experts or managers.”

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