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48-year-employee retires in style

PUBLISHED: 08:00 06 February 2009 | UPDATED: 07:57 01 August 2010

IT was nearly 50 years ago when Clowes employee Graham Rudd first rolled up to work in his beloved new 1936 Ford Model Y Popular.

And today Mr Rudd, who went on to spend his entire working life at the Beccles-based printers, will mark his retirement when he drives to and from work in the very same car.

IT was nearly 50 years ago when Clowes employee Graham Rudd first rolled up to work in his beloved new 1936 Ford Model Y Popular.

And today Mr Rudd, who went on to spend his entire working life at the Beccles-based printers, will mark his retirement when he drives to and from work in the very same car.

Mr Rudd, who will be 65 on Monday, has been at Clowes since he left school at the age of 16- an incredible 48 years of loyal service for the company.

And the car, which Mr Rudd affectionately calls Henry after Henry Ford, was his means of transport in his early days at Clowes when he lived at his family home in Lowestoft.

“I just wanted to give her a run out,” said Mr Rudd, who has been known as Ish since his days as an apprentice. “It should bring back lots of memories.”

Mr Rudd bought Henry when he passed his driving test at the age of 17, a few months after he had started work at Clowes, and quickly became popular with fellow Lowestoftian commuters.

“One or two people lived nearby so I used to bring people in to work,” he said. “People talk about car sharing nowadays but we did it years ago!”

Mr Rudd met his wife Margaret at Clowes in 1966, and sold the car in 1970 when they moved to Beccles and started a family because the car has “no space to put in a pram.”

Amazingly, however, Henry came back into Mr Rudd's life in the early '90s after a chance conversation at a vintage car rally. A man at the rally mentioned he had a Model Y Ford that someone had fitted with an aluminium roof, which reminded Mr Rudd of the time he had helped his father replace Henry's felt roof with aluminium.

When Mr Rudd realised it was the exact same car they had “a tearful reunion.” “Once I knew it was there I wanted to get it back again,” he explained. “It took me about three years of working on the new owner. Considering he knew I was desperate to get it he was very fair.”

After 48 years at Clowes Mr Rudd is apprehensive about his last day, and predicts that it will be “a bit traumatic.”

From starting in stores in September 1960, to his apprenticeship as a compositor a few months later and working his way up to his final job in the bindery stores, Mr Rudd has many fond memories. “I've made lots of friends there,” he said.

However he is looking forward to keeping busy in his retirement, and will continue to work as secretary of the Britannia Lodge Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes and membership secretary for the Beccles Caxton Club.

He also plans to do some gardening and decorating, not to mention making sure that Henry is kept in perfect working order!

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