Twelve King’s Lynn people have achieved career milestones after racking up their 40th and 45th anniversary working with Foster Refrigerator.
Colleagues based throughout the factory have celebrated the significant goal this year, with eight giving 40 years and four 45 years of service.
Among those marking 45 years of service are Paul Smith and Tony Bruce, who both started careers at the King’s Lynn factory in their teens, within the same week of each other, in April 1971.
Smith, who is now the Plant 4 manager was just 15 on his first day: “I left school on the Friday, and started here on the Monday, so it was a scary first day, but I soon settled in,” he said.
Smith, who has a vast knowledge of the manufacturing processes, started his career putting the cabinet interiors together, before moving on to manufacturing the electrical boxes, and then fitting condensers. He became the youngest supervisor on the plant floor, at just 17-years-old. “I love the manufacturing side – and have always thoroughly enjoyed what I do and have learnt so much over the years,” he added.
Bruce, meanwhile, has worked in various departments including service and technical, but is now an advisor in the spares team. He said: “When I joined on 13 April 1971 it was only as a stop gap! I was 18, and left a job I wasn’t enjoying in a solicitor’s firm so came to Foster to buy me some time while I worked out what I really wanted to do. I would never have thought I’d still be here 45 years later!
“I have worked in different places and done various jobs in my time here. Moving around means I have learnt so much. I’ve made lots of good friends here over the years, and played football when the company has a team together. Foster has always looked after me and been a good company to work for, so I am glad I took this ‘stop gap’ job all those years ago!”
Paul Veried, MD of Foster Refrigerator, concluded: “As a business we can only be as good as the people who work with us. It is a fantastic achievement to have so many colleagues alongside me that have been a part of the organisation for so long.
“Their knowledge, experience and expertise is absolutely invaluable and it’s great to see their passion for the business continuing to grow, while inspiring their colleagues. I want to offer them a big thank you for those 500 fantastic years and here’s to many more!”
The members of staff celebrating 40 years are Andrew Hodges (engineering), Michael Dempsey (recently retired from production) Ray Broughton (production) Nigel Richards (production), Walter Wilson, (production), Michael Howlett (production), Adrian Everritt (production), Jackie Winterton (customer Action Team) and for 45 years, Geoff Minns (production), David Wheatley (production), Paul Smith (Plant 4 manager) and Tony Bruce (spares team).