Sad day as Ivan says farewell
IT was the end of an era for Lowestoft, and a sad day for dozens of workers.But as a factory which has been part of the town's industrial landscape for decades closed its doors for a final time yesterday, for one employee it marked the end of nearly half a century's loyal service.
IT was the end of an era for Lowestoft, and a sad day for dozens of workers.
But as a factory which has been part of the town's industrial landscape for decades closed its doors for a final time yesterday, for one employee it marked the end of nearly half a century's loyal service.
Ivan Wigg, of Bollard Way, Lowestoft. started work at the then Boulton and Paul site in 1962 and is now putting down his tools for good following the closure of the Jeld Wen timber factory, on Waveney Drive.
He joined the factory when he was just 16 after his father saw apprenticeships advertised locally, and he is now retiring after working there for just short of 48 years.
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Mr Wigg is one of about 190 people who have lost their jobs at the site, but he has many good memories of working there.
'I started my apprenticeship there in September 1962, and after five years of training I became the first wood machine apprentice,' he said. 'I've been dead lucky. I've got 48 years in, and it is right on my doorstep, so working there has served me very well.'
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Mr Wigg, 63, has worked in a variety of roles at the factory, including in the tool room and training to use band-saws and the site's specialised machinery.
He said: 'When I first walked up the slope into the mill at Boulton and Paul, I looked around and said 'Wow' because I couldn't believe I was going to be working those huge machines.
'I've enjoyed my time there. Every day was a challenge, it always seemed there was something different or some-thing new to get on with. When I ran the tool room there never seemed to be enough hours in the day and I was zooming around, but it was just brilliant.
'I'll miss my workmates and it will be strange not to have to go to work every day, but I'm lucky to be active and well enough to be able to enjoy retirement, so I can spend more time with my two grand-daughters and take up fishing again.'
He added: 'I've been lucky as I only had just over a year of work left officially anyway, but I feel sorry for the younger men with families as there's not much in Lowestoft for them. It's about moving with the times, and we've had to accept that.'
A number of staff have transferred to jobs at Jeld Wen's factories in Sheffield and Melton Mowbray.
The closure of the Lowestoft factory was announced just before Christmas, and the company said that it needed to make savings in its manufacturing processes in order to remain competitive.
See today's Turning Back The Clock section for a special report and old photographs from the Boulton and Paul factory.