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Panel technician knocks 50-year career on the head with golden hammer

PUBLISHED: 08:00 28 April 2018

Kevin Fenn is retiring after almost 50 years working as a panel technician. Photo: Jacob Massey

Kevin Fenn is retiring after almost 50 years working as a panel technician. Photo: Jacob Massey

Archant

A Great Yarmouth panel technician is downing tools for the final time after working for half a century in the town.

Kevin Fenn is retiring after almost 50 years working as a panel technician. Photo: Jacob MasseyKevin Fenn is retiring after almost 50 years working as a panel technician. Photo: Jacob Massey

Kevin Fenn, who will be 65 next week, began working at Drudge Road Garage in Gorleston as a 15-year-old, reshaping the bodywork of damaged cars.

He spent 21 years there before moving to Trimoco in 1990.

Over the intervening 28 years, the company was successively sold on, becoming Warwick Schubrook, then Thurlow Nunn and now East Bilney Coachworks - but Mr Fenn remained a constant throughout.

But on Monday morning, Mr Fenn’s 5am alarm won’t sound for the first time in fifty years.

Kevin Fenn is retiring after almost 50 years working as a panel technician. Photo: Jacob MasseyKevin Fenn is retiring after almost 50 years working as a panel technician. Photo: Jacob Massey

“It’s going to be strange,” he said.

“I have mixed emotions now as it has been most of my life. I’ve enjoyed it though.”

Mr Fenn, of Selwyn Drive in Belton, was presented with a golden hammer by branch manager, Chris Browne, on his last day on Friday.

Staff huddled in the rain for a farewell photo and Mr Browne shared an emotional parting message as he gifted Mr Fenn with a watch.

One of Mr Fenn's many projects. Picture: East Bilney CoachworksOne of Mr Fenn's many projects. Picture: East Bilney Coachworks

Mr Browne said: “It is a sad day to lose Kev. He is such a fantastic, lovely person, full of skill and knowledge.

“As I have said to you before, you are welcome back any time.

“From everyone at East Bilney, thank you.”

As for the future, Mr Fenn said he is ready to enjoy himself.

Kevin Fenn is retiring after almost 50 years working as a panel technician. Photo: Jacob MasseyKevin Fenn is retiring after almost 50 years working as a panel technician. Photo: Jacob Massey

He said: “I’m going to take it as it comes, go out and about with the wife, have holidays, do a bit of photography and gardening.

“I’ve got good health, which I’m lucky to have, and three grand-kids and I just want to go enjoy life now.”

Mr Fenn’s wife is also due to retire in June and they have already planned a deserved holiday to Seville, but in the meantime, Mr Fenn suspects his wife will keep him busy around the house.

He said: “She’ll make the best of it no doubt. I’ve got plenty of work to be getting on with at home and I’m sure my daughter will have plenty of work for me too.”

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