Ransomes Jacobsen veteran retires after 50 years' service

Test and assembly engineer Dai Williams, who joined Ransomes, Sims & Jefferies in 1959, retired this month after 50 years' service with the Ipswich-based turf maintenance equipment manufacturer, now known as Ransomes Jacobsen.

Williams began a five-year apprenticeship in 1959. In 1964, after completing his apprenticeship, he was seconded to the forklift truck assembly line and for the next four years was involved with the manufacture of electric flatbed trucks and compact tractors, as well as building automatic lathes for Coopers of Coventry and electric motors for forklift trucks. Over the years he worked in a variety of jobs including putting together electric pallet trucks single-handedly and making ploughs and sprayers.

More recently he has worked on the main tractor line, building the company's ride-on mowers, the Ransomes Highway, Parkway and Commander.

Managing director David Withers said: "It's people like Dai who are the backbone of this company; you only have to look at our annual long service awards, where those who receive their 20-year certificates are looked upon as just learning their trade. We are extremely grateful to Dai and the men and women like him who have given such loyal service over the decades."

Dai Williams said: "I've seen some massive changes here over the past 50 years, but I've thoroughly enjoyed my time. Probably the biggest difference is the number of people employed; back in the mid-1960s there were over 3,000 and now there are just under 300. But we're still building quality machinery and long may it continue."

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