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David shows his staying power

A key worker from Norwich has had his long service with the electricity industry recognised by employer UK Power Networks.

From Press releases - 19 August 2020 12:00 AM

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The company, which delivers electricity for 8.3 million homes and businesses across East Anglia, London and the South East, invites staff who have given 40 years of continuous service to join a special 40+ Club.

David Ready joined what was then Eastern Electricity in 1980 as a linesman’s mate, having been inspired to emulate his father who was a linesman.

Some four decades on, he remains a linesman repairing and maintaining overhead power lines across Norfolk, with the Great Storm of 1987 one of his strongest memories, but his work even took him to France in the early 2000s to help restore power there.

David, 60, said: “I started as a linesman’s mate in 1980 at the Wymondham depot. I had been an apprentice welder, but my dad was a linesman so I grew up with it really and he had the contacts with what was then Eastern Electricity to give me a start. 

“I was still a linesman’s mate when the Great Storm of 1987 hit. You always sorted your own area out first before helping others so I stayed in Norfolk before being sent down to Basingstoke for a few weeks. My main memory is being on shift when a helicopter had to drop off electricial equipment, a wooden pole and transformer, for us to fit.

“In the 1990s I was sent to Mansfield because heavy snow had damaged the lines and later on I went to France after a storm, I had to work on concrete poles over there which was a real eye-opener. I remember getting seasick on the way over there!

“One Christmas Day I got a call to go down to Kent the next day to deal with storm damage. I set off on the Boxing Day morning and was back New Year’s Eve so you always have to be ready to respond like that to repair faults, but it’s a job I enjoy or I wouldn’t still be doing it 40 years on.

“I’ve been a union rep for about 30 years and focused a lot on safety. That’s improved a lot, gone are the days when guys would turn up for jobs wearing shorts, it’s full protective gear now. In my union role I’ve been very busy since March with the introduction of new regulations to make us Covid-secure.”

Basil Scarsella, chief executive of UK Power Networks, said: “I recognise and celebrate the dedication and expertise of our employees, many of who have lived and worked in the communities we serve, for a long time. Their work keeping the power on is usually carried out behind the scenes, but it enables everyone’s everyday lives to run smoothly.

“Even for those who have been with us for many decades, 2020 has been an unprecedented year and I am hugely proud of all of our staff’s response to the many challenges of the coronavirus pandemic, with everybody working hard to keep the power flowing. 

“Clearly we cannot gather together for our usual 40+ Club dinner this year, but everybody appreciates the reasons why and it remains a milestone well worth marking.”

The company has 500 employees with over 40 years’ service. A total of 86 staff across London, the South East and East of England reached their 40th or 50th milestone this year.

In addition to career development for existing staff, UK Power Networks continues to run apprenticeships, with new starters due to join in 2021.