For the love of the job: 50 years and counting

In this fast paced world of the internet and social media, it is not very often we hear of people who have spent their lives working in one industry and it’s even more unusual when they have worked for the same client.  That, however, is exactly what Mick Woolard did and has now proudly clocked up 50 years doing it.

The client is H+H UK Ltd, an aircrete block manufacturer based near Sevenoaks in Kent.  The company Mick has worked with for over 25 years is Foley & Miles, a large transport company based in Grays, Essex, who have been partnered with H+H since they took over from the original transport companies with whom Mick worked previously. 

Mick moved to Foley & Miles when they took over the contract and continued doing what he did best, as a lorry driver taking Celcon Blocks aircrete all over the South East of England and beyond.  He remembers many changes over the years, both to the factories he worked from and the road network.

“The Lorries were smaller in those days, Mick says, between 10 tonnes and 21 tonnes and you loaded everything by hand; no on board cranes in those days.  It was hard work, but we enjoyed it because we knew a lot about the product and how the factory worked as well as the staff in the factory we were working with; we were one big team”.  He then added “The roads were very different then too, no M25, a short M20 and M2 and the M11 began at Bishops Stortford and ended at Newmarket.  Some journeys could be a real headache especially when you had no choice but to get to the South West through the centre of London”.

Mick has seen many other changes.  Having worked in the H+H factory in Grays, H+H moved to Borough Green, Sevenoaks in the early 1990’s so he spent a lot of time between the two factories, ensuring the loads got to the customer in the best possible time. 

Nowadays at the very respectable age of 76, Mick still does a four day week at Foley & Miles. He lives in Essex with his wife of many years Pauline and children and grandchildren. He doesn’t do quite so much lorry driving as he used to; you are more likely to see him in the yard at Grays ensuring the trucks are up to standard and helping with the loading and weighing.  He does the odd journey to the H+H factory, keeping his hand in, but is happy to stay in the background at the depot.

Mick was asked what he missed most about being on the road every day and he quickly replied “The banter and personal relationships you built up with the building sites.  When you offloaded by hand you got to know the lads on site and it was a team effort; today that is not so likely to happen as so much is automated and everyone is too busy. When I come to the H+H yard though, the lads know me well as we have worked together for so many years, that’s when I still get a bit of ribbing and banter”.

Mick came to the H+H facility at Borough Green recently and was presented with a gift to commemorate his 50 years of service by Allan Clark, Demand Planning & Logistics Manager of H+H UK. He was accompanied by Kevin Miles and Matthew Hill from Foley & Miles, both of whom were more than pleased to see Mick presented with his award.

Kevin Miles said of Mick “He is part of the company, as much as any of us and I can rely on him totally to turn up and do the job.  It amazes me that he still wants to work, but he does, so that’s good enough for us.  I am really pleased he has made his 50 years and we can congratulate him in a small but significant way here today”.