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East Midlands Trains recently held a special thank you lunch to honour thirteen of its longest serving staff, who between them have notched up an incredible 407 years service.
Staff from Derby, Sheffield, Nottingham and Lincolnshire attended the special lunch at Makeney Hall in Derbyshire on 8 January. Some staff were celebrating 25 years’ service and some are due to retire.
The longest serving of those being honoured was a Derby based train driver, Keith Woodcock. Keith, who lives in Mickleover with his wife Eileen, started work for British Rail as an engine cleaner some 48 years ago. One of Keith’s colleagues said “He is a gentleman driver willing to pass on his knowledge to other drivers."
Keith said, “I really enjoyed my time driving trains and the proudest moment of my career was when I ‘passed out’ to be a train driver back in 1978."
Also retiring in March this year after 44 years’ service and celebrating at the event was Dave Chappell. Dave joined British Rail in August 1964, aged 15. He started as an apprentice fitter at York Training school. After a year’s training he then moved to Leeds. He worked in various roles in his career, including being one of the first engineers to work on the HST (High Speed Trains) when they were introduced in the 1970s. More recently, he has been a riding inspector and assessor travelling all over the East Midlands Trains route.
David lives in Ripley, Derbyshire, with his fiancée Susan, who he plans to marry next year. Both widowers, they have been together now for 7 and a half years. Dave says “I always said we could get married when I retire, so I guess the time has now come and we’re very excited! After we get married we’re going to start our married life together with a tour around the UK in our caravan.”
His manager Ray Cook said "Dave has been a key member of the team. He has helped many people over the years and has always managed to put a smile on colleagues’ faces whilst doing so and we will miss him."
Dave will be 60 in March, and will officially retire on 27 March 2009.
A very familiar face at Sheffield station also says goodbye to the rail industry this month. Everitt Ebanks will retire in January after 29 years working at Sheffield railway station. Claire Ansley, Route Manager for Derbyshire and Sheffield said “Everitt truly is the face of Sheffield station and a fantastic colleague and friend. Anyone who uses the station regularly will recognise him. He has a wonderful way with the general public and is a really charming man. Even though we know he will still pop in to see us, we’re going to miss him dreadfully and we’ll never forget the service he gave not just to us as a company, but also to the people of Sheffield.”
Tim Shoveller, East Midlands Trains, Managing Director, who hosted the event said: “We are very fortunate at East Midlands Trains to have so many staff who have stayed with us for so long and who can draw on many years of experience on the railways. Over the years the rail industry has seen many changes, and it’s still changing now. But one factor that I believe has remained a constant for companies like East Midlands Trains is the dedication and professionalism of staff who are part of the ‘railway family’ and this event is all about recognizing their achievements.”
Those honoured at the event were: