Staff at a company in Ollerton have bid a fond farewell to its longest-serving employee, who has retired after clocking up 45 years’ service.
Dave Smith, 65, joined A1 Flues Systems as a 20-year-old just 18 months after the company was founded in 1973.
He has seen A1 Flues, under its veteran boss Colin Moir, grow from humble beginnings to become a multi-award-winner.
The firm is now the UK market leader in the design, manufacture, installation and maintenance of commercial and industrial chimney, flue and exhaust systems, and employs more than 140 people from its purpose-built factory.
However, for Dave, who hails from Ollerton, it is time to step down and spend more time with his grandchildren and on his hobbies of gardening and fishing. He has even bought a plot of land that he’s planning to turn into an allotment.
Dave said: “I’ve had a fantastic time at A1 and worked with some great people. It’s been astonishing the way the company has grown, and I am very proud to have been a part of it.
“I’ll be sad to go, and I’ll really miss everyone. But I think I deserve to take it easier after 45 years!”
Remembering the early days, Dave said he had worked with Colin previously and jumped at the chance to join A1. Before the move into flues and chimneys, they made air-conditioning ducting in a small shed and installed it all over the country.
During his time at A1, Dave has done virtually every job going. On retiring, he was a contracts co-ordinator, responsible for checking orders for flue systems and components before they were manufactured.
It was a responsible position because the firm has installed systems at some of the UK’s most iconic buildings, including the Millennium Stadium and Twickenham, as well as homes belonging to celebrities, such as Bono and Rod Stewart.
Colin, 77, said: “It has been a pleasure to work with Dave for so long. He has been an integral part of this company, which has gone from strength to strength because of the dedication and loyality of Dave and others.”