College sports hall build is a family affair for Yarmouth plumbing pair

Ray Alcock, right, worked on the original construction of the Great Yarmouth College sports hall in

Ray Alcock, right, worked on the original construction of the Great Yarmouth College sports hall in the 1970s. Now he, and his apprentice grandson Brandon Alcock, left, are working on the new structure. - Credit: Supplied

When Ray Alcock worked as a young apprentice heating and plumbing engineer on the construction of Great Yarmouth College's sports hall in the early 1970s, he had no idea that he would return more than 40 years later to give the building a complete overhaul, but this time with his grandson, Brandon, 18, in tow as his own apprentice.

The construction of the sports hall at Great Yarmouth College in the 1970s

The construction of the sports hall at Great Yarmouth College in the 1970s - Credit: Supplied

Ray, 61, who has run his own plumbing and heating company, CMS Anglia Ltd, in Great Yarmouth for 21 years, was responsible for the design and implementation of the heating and plumbing element of the new £350,000 Sport and Wellbeing Centre at Great Yarmouth College.

Another Great Yarmouth company, Holmes Construction, acted as main building contractor on the project.

The new sport centre will open later this month and will offer a range of sport and fitness opportunities for students and the wider community. Sport students at the college will help to run the facility, which will be part of their training to gain practical real-life work experience.

Brandon is now in his third year studying plumbing at Great Yarmouth College. He was taken on as an apprentice by his grandfather after he successfully passed his level two qualification.

The construction of the sports hall at Great Yarmouth College in the 1970s

The construction of the sports hall at Great Yarmouth College in the 1970s - Credit: Supplied


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He is now hoping to complete his plumbing apprenticeship in two years time, and then gain more experience before taking over the running of the family business when his grandfather retires.

'I have been interested in plumbing from a young age and really enjoy working with my grandfather on many different sites, but this project at the college was one of my favourites so far,' said Brandon.

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'I know the set-up here and on the days I am at college I feel really proud when I see a piece of work which I have installed.'

Brandon said he likes the variety which working for a small company brings and that 'no two days are the same.'

The construction of the sports hall at Great Yarmouth College in the 1970s

The construction of the sports hall at Great Yarmouth College in the 1970s - Credit: Supplied

'Brandon is a good worker, and he is getting better all the time,' added proud grandfather, Ray.

In the 1970s Ray worked as an apprentice for the well-known Norfolk company, PT Radmall, now defunct.

They were subcontracted for heating and mechanical services by RG Carter, who was the main contractor during the original sport hall construction project.

'I had shoulder-length hair in those days,' said Ray. 'And we were not so hot on the health and safety aspects of the job. But there were plenty of opportunities to learn a trade and construction work was aplenty in the area. You never had to worry where your next job was going to come from'.

The construction of the sports hall at Great Yarmouth College in the 1970s

The construction of the sports hall at Great Yarmouth College in the 1970s - Credit: Supplied

While working on the construction, he rode every day on his motorbike from Wroxham, where he lived at the time, picking up a fellow apprentice on the way in Acle.

He then fell in love and married a Yarmouth girl, settled locally and after working for several East Anglian companies, set up his own business.

Today he does a wide range of work, from domestic work to large boilerhouse installations and mechanical services at schools and hospitals. His wife, daughter, nephew and now his grandson are all involved in the family business.

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