Appeal to trace ex-EMEB apprentices in Mansfield for reunion

An appeal has gone out to trace four Mansfield men who were apprentices for the old East Midlands Electricity Board (EMEB) 50 years ago.

Wednesday, 26th May 2021, 4:25 pm
Part of the photo of all the EMEB apprentices in 1971, featuring on the front row, Billy Parkes (third left), John Clark (fourth left) and Tim Brothwell (third right), plus on the third row from the front, Clive Wells (second right).

It is part of an attempt to bring 100 former apprentices together again for an anniversary reunion later this year.

"September 6 will mark a significant milestone because it will be 50 years since we set out on the next great chapter of our lives after leaving school,” explained Brian O’Brien, the reunion organiser.

"We all converged on the EMEB’s regional training centre at Wollaton in Nottingham to begin our working careers.

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"But after the company was privatised in 1990, it fragmented and changed hands several times, so no-one kept central records.

"The EMEB’s headquarters at Arnold have long gone, so we are very limited in the information we can find.”

What Brian has got, however, is a ‘ team photo’ from 1971 of all the youngsters who embarked on four-year apprenticeships, and some of their instructors.

They came from across the East Midlands, but he has been able to put a name to virtually all of them, and is now in the middle of the painstaking task of tracking them down.

So far, 24 have been located, but among those who haven’t are Clive Wells, Billy Parkes, John Clark and Tim Brothwell, who all hailed from the Mansfield area.

"It’s a challenge, but myself and an old friend, Ian Smith who is helping me, want to find as many as we can,” said Brian, 66, who is retired and lives in Rugby.

"When we all got together for the first time, it was so unique and would never happen these days. Companies just don’t do that any more.

"Most of us turned up with suitcases to be put into ‘digs’ for 40 weeks of that first year, travelling home only for weekends.

"Naturally, friendships were formed and some great experiences shared.

"I went on to work as a project manager and contract engineer for a private company, but many will have stayed in the electricity industry.”

The reunion is planned for Friday, September 3 at a venue in Nottingham.

Clive, Billy, John and Tim, or anyone who knows them, are asked to e-mail Brian at [email protected]

There is also a Facebook group called I Worked At East Midlands Electricity Board.