John White retires after over 50 years of service

Feb 10, 2013

John and Clive pictured in the workshops where his career began over 50 years ago.

John and Clive pictured in the workshops where his career began over 50 years ago.

Friends and colleagues gather to wish John a fond farewell.

Friends and colleagues gather to wish John a fond farewell.

John White, one of Emanuel Whittaker’s longest serving employees, retired on Friday 8th February 2013.

At an emotional farewell gathering held at the Emanuel Whittaker Oldham Head Offices, friends and colleagues gathered to wish him well in his retirement.

Clive Newton, Managing Director, and close friend of John gave an emotional speech which gave current employees an idea of how life was back in the day when John began his career with Emanuel Whittaker…

“The date at the top of the page is 5th January 1963. It is the pay run for the previous week. At the bottom after 76 other employees a new name has been added: J.S White. Apprentice Joiner. 1s 5d per hour. Gross pay for 42 hours would be £2 19s 6d, and you would pay 6s 9d national insurance.

There is a note “commenced 31st December 1962”. That’s right, John started on New Year’s Eve and also worked New Year’s Day. We had no New Year holiday in those days.

But John, who’s attendance has been exemplary ever since, didn’t do 42 hours that first week, he only did 25 1/2. He had two days off with tonsillitis. Not the best of starts to a working life!”

“Four names above John’s is T Whittaker, Apprentice Joiner. Tom Whittaker, great grandson of Emanuel and a future Managing Director of the company.

On 4th February 1963 John got a rise. One farthing per hour! For those of you who don’t know or can’t remember the value of a farthing, if John had worked a 48 hour week the rise would be worth 5p per week in present money.

Jack Kennedy the American President was still alive and well. We wouldn’t put a man on the moon for another 6 years. Indeed it would still be three years before I joined Emanuel Whittaker’s  met John and started a friendship that has lasted nearly 47 years. To date!”

Clive explained how John’s work has “always been exceptional. Quite simply his work is always right and always to the highest possible standard… for me John White will always be ‘good joiner’, ‘good bloke’.”

John explained that it was an emotional day “It’s always nice when someone reaches a retirement day that they have long been looking forward to. But it’s also nice to reach that day with a bit of trepidation and some mixed feelings. Because if you have longed for the day to come then you probably haven’t been enjoying your work.”  John explained that he had mixed feelings because he continues to love his work.

John was presented with a cheque and a gift from his colleagues, as well as a final word from Clive: “We’ll miss you John. I’ll miss you. So make sure we see plenty of you. And thank you very much for the magnificent service you have given to the company”.



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