A parks worker has celebrated becoming the longest serving council employee after clocking up a record 45 years.
Gordon Mason, Hyndburn council’s parks multi task foreman, joined the local authority straight from school on his 15th birthday, in August 1972.
He began his career as an apprentice at Mercer Park and has spent 45 years keeping the borough blooming.
Gordon, 60, was presented with a tankard at Oak Hill Park by the council’s chief executive, Dave Welsby, with his parks colleagues in attendance, in recognition of his long and distinguished career in Hyndburn.
He said: “I was totally gobsmacked to receive the tankard, I had no idea at all and didn’t realise that anything was going to happen, so it was a big surprise. I’m really chuffed, it was a nice gesture and much appreciated.”
Gordon, who lives in Accrington, still remembers his first day vividly, which included an unfortunate incident with a geranium.
He said: “It was really daunting turning up at Mercer Park straight from school as a raw 15-year-old lad. I was in awe of meeting the big boss of Parks, and later in the day I managed to cut through a geranium and my thumb at the same time, with blood spurting everywhere. It was all worth it for my first weekly wage though, a princely sum of £7, I thought I was rich!”
Currently Gordon works across all the borough’s parks, but Gatty Park has a special place in his heart, as he spent 20 happy years there.
Gordon added: “I love the job and working outdoors, it doesn’t matter what the weather’s doing.
“As long as you’re wrapped up for the cold and waterproofed against the rain properly you’re fine with whatever it throws at you.”
But Gordon’s not hanging up his spade any time soon and says that he has every intention of making it to 50 years’ service.
He said: “I’d like to make it to 50 years, health and everything else permitting, so we’ll see what the future brings.”
Chief executive Dave Welsby, said: “It’s great to celebrate Gordon’s 45 years with us. As our longest-serving employee, Gordon has a special place in the history of the council and we are all very proud of the work that he’s done for the borough.
“I felt very honoured to make the presentation - Gordon is a great employee and part of a brilliant team.”