North Walsham long-serving employee retires

He has worked as a toolmaker with a North Walsham company for more than 40 years – but as he approaches his retirement Gordon Bell is set to learn a new skill – playing the banjo.

Muisc lover Mr Bell, 59, from Swafield, started work at Ladbrook Manufacturing in the town in 1967, as a trainee apprentice toolmaker.

He went on to take a day release course at Yarmouth Tech and has continued his service with the company for 43 years.

He said: 'There have been a lot of changes over the years, especially with new technology, which I think is a good thing, especially with the level of accuracy you can get today.'

During his time with the company, he has established himself as the company's resident guitarist and in his retirement has resolved to attempt to learn to play the banjo, which he intends to buy with a gift voucher presented to him by his colleagues.

Presentations were made to Mr Bell on Friday, September 3, by chairman David Spinks and managing director, Michael Blowers.

Jill King, secretary and granddaughter of the company's founder J. W. Spinks, presented Mr Bell's wife, Christine, 57, with a bouquet whilst thanking her for taking good care of Mr Bell during his time with Ladbrook.

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Although September 3 was his official retirement date, Mr Bell is staying on with the company working part-time for the next few weeks helping out as one of his colleagues has been taken ill.

As Mr Bell leaves, Ladbrook Engineering is also set to take on its first apprentice in 20 years. Tom Hannant, 17, has joined the company on an advanced apprenticeship scheme and will be attending day-release sessions at college whilst also working and receiving technical training within the factory.