A long-serving employee has racked up 50 years’ service literally climbing the ladder with the same employer.

Bobby Blewitt from Newent celebrated his half century at the town’s LFI Ladders this week, having started there straight from school at the age of 16.

Bobby said: “My first role was to lift and sort the wooden logs (LFI used to have its own on-site timber mill), although because I was a short little lad, they were too heavy for me.

“I was quickly moved by the foreman to work on repairing wooded staging boards.

“I then went on to make the LFI TuFF Pole, the orange wooden pole ladders which we still hand craft today! I’m not sure which is older, me or them! I’ve had a few other roles too, too many to remember I guess.”

Asked why he had stayed all this time with LFI, he said

“I’ve worked with people from all walks of life and lots of different personalities, and this is part of what makes LFI such a great place to work…

“It’s hard work that’s for sure, but hard work never killed anyone!

“I get satisfaction at the end of every day, from the work I did, and still do currently.

“Knowing that one more day has passed, and I’ve contributed to the team and produced the best product that I possibly could!”

But Bobby is finally set to retire and put his feet up next month, and admits he is “excited” by the prospect.

“I’m going to get to spend more time with my family, which I’m most looking forward to… (though) I’m also feeling a little sad to leave after all these years. I’ll miss the banter among us, but I definitely won’t miss the cold, dark winter mornings or having to drive into work that’s for sure!”

Congratulating Bobby on his 50 years, operations director Darren Smart said: “He has shown a fantastic work ethic and has consistently delivered to the highest of standards, driven production levels to a new high, and done so with an impeccable safety record.”

“Considering how manufacturing has changed in Britain, with five decades coming and going, it’s a testament to Bobby’s loyalty and longevity that he is still dedicating each of his working days to help produce the high-quality access equipment which we have built our reputation and seen us become a market leader in Britain,” he added.