Dunmow builder gets the Rolls Royce treatment on his retirement

A LONG-SERVING employee of a Dunmow builder’s firm got the Rolls Royce treatment as part of his retirement send off.

Alf Wright has worked for Pickfords Builders and its various guises for 50 years. For the last 43 of those, the bricklayer and roofer has walked the hundred-or-so yards to the company’s factory in Great Easton.

But that changed on Friday when, on his last day, he was picked up by a chauffeured Rolls Royce and driven to work.

He said: “I’ve always walked to work; it only takes me a few minutes. I kept saying it’s about time they did something so I didn’t have to walk – and I woke up on Friday and a Rolls Royce was waiting. It was a good surprise.

“All the lads were waiting in the yard when I got there and I just got out and shouted ‘who wants to be a millionaire?’ We all wanted to chip in and buy the car but at �200,000 it was a bit steep.”

Mr Wright grew up in Broxted and moved to Great Easton in 1968 after marrying his wife, Lesley. During that time he has seen a world of changes.

“I left school aged 15 and started out working 50 hours a week. My first wage was one shilling and a penny per day,” he said. “Everything has changed in the industry– it’s all plastic. And of course there’s not so many guys working in the trade.”

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Now he has given up the tools, Mr Wright is looking to take things easy and will concentrate on his hobby of recording and photographing the history of the five parishes.

“It’s been three days and I’m still married,” joked Mr Wright, who celebrated his 65th birthday on Saturday with his family, including two sons and one grandson. “I’m enjoying my retirement - I’m sorting out my tools, deciding which ones to keep and which to pass on.

“It’s all a bit strange but we’re doing well.”

General manager at Pickfords, Paul Rodwell, praised his former employee. He said: “Alf has proved his worth to the company.

“He is a character, very popular and a good craftsman, and we will certainly miss his experience and knowledge.”