Mickey celebrates 50 binding years
- Credit: Nick Butcher
He’s played a pivotal role in the binding of more than a million books.
But after a career spanning 50 years, Beccles man Mickey Cooke is closing the chapter on his working life.
Mr Cooke has worked at CPI William Clowes printing works at Ellough since the age of 15, but on Tuesday as he celebrated his 65th birthday he retired. He first saw the advert for an apprenticeship in the bindery after leaving Beccles Area School.
He said: “It looked like good money and my father said that he thought it would be useful for me to learn a trade, as he was a plumber. I replied to the advert and the rest is history.
“I used to have a counter on my computer which showed me the number of books I had put a case on and it was £1.5m a couple of years ago. There are so many old characters I remember, one of which got me into my hobby.
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“My father in law enrolled my daughter with the Beccles Kingfishers Swimming Club and one of the chaps who I worked with at Clowes, Ray Gray, used to run it. He talked me into becoming a teacher and in 1991 I qualified. I teach every Friday night and I just enjoy the results from seeing children being unable to swim, to swimming at county standard.”
Richard Barratt, production manager for the bindery department said: “He’s always jovial and cheerful and he knows his job inside out. That knowledge takes a long time to replace.”
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Mr Cooke’s colleagues presented him with a Norwich City Football Club shirt with his age and name on the back, plus a book of memories and photographs.
He said: “I will miss the people more than anything. I haven’t got any plans for my retirement, but I think my wife has one or two, she keeps mentioning words like decorating.”