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Workers mark golden milestone with firm
When David Ackroyd and Brian Stockdale began work on the same day in 1962, they had no idea what their careers had in store.
But that pair of 15-year-old apprentices are still working for the same firm and getting ready to celebrate their 50th anniversaries.
Mr Ackroyd and Mr Stockdale joined manufacturers Spooner, in Ilkley, on April 24, 1962, and have worked their way through the company and seen a magnitude of changes.
Now 65, Mr Ackroyd is preparing for semi-retirement and working three days a week, while Mr Stockdale has not decided what he wants to do in the future.
However, both men have come a long way since they earned £2 6s 8d a week.
Mr Ackroyd can still remember his very first day, the first Wednesday after Easter.
“I went into the machine shop and had to stand with a chap on a lathe,” he said.
“I remember thinking he looked about 108 and my legs ached at the end of the first couple of days.”
He can also remember the firm’s founder, William Wycliffe Spooner, who died in 1967, coming out onto the shop floor to hand out christmas bonuses.
From there, Mr Ackroyd worked his way through the ranks including welding and sheet metal and now works in production planning.
He admitted the job was just “handy” at first, but has grown to enjoy it more over the years and its diversity.
Mr Stockdale says he cannot remember his first day with the company, but can also recall Mr Spooner coming out on the factory floor to give a “pep talk”,.
“Some things haven’t changed, but others have had to change because you can’t keep standing still,” said Mr Stockdale, a commissioning manager, who lives in Burley-in-Wharfedale.
“I couldn’t imagine sticking anywhere for any length of time and after two years I’d had enough!”
But he admitted the diversity of the job and travelling around the world had kept him at the company.
This year also sees the 80th year Spooner has been in business this year as it was established in 1932 by Mr Spooner as the ‘Spooner Dryer and Engineering Co Ltd’ with only two employees.
Now the firm is a world leader in forced convection technology making ovens, dryers and air pollution control equipment.