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Stuart shows his staying power

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

From Press releases - 13 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.

Stuart Rourke started his traineeship with what was then Seeboard back in 1980 before moving to Leighton Buzzard.

He was finishing moving house, when he was called into emergency service in 1987 to help deal with the aftermath of that year’s Great Storm.

Stuart, 58, said: “I wouldn’t say it was always my ambition growing up, but once I got into the industry I realised it was where I wanted to be. It’s incredible it’s now been 40 years.

“I started as a trainee engineer with Seeboard back in September 1980 which including university study, after completing that I saw a job advertisement with Eastern Electricity for line maintenance work and that took me to Leighton Buzzard where I still live.

“I took a few different roles in various locations after that, but for the past 20 years I have been a protection and commissioning engineer working on major projects.

“I’m not someone who seeks personal accolades, I prefer to take a quiet satisfaction in the work I have done in that period and it’s been with the support of great people over the years. I still keep in contact with people who have retired.

“One abiding memory for me is being on standby for the Great Storm of 1987. I worked in and around my own patch for a week or so and then went up to Norfolk to help with further 11,000-volt line repair work. That was all complicated by me trying to complete a house move at the same time!”

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.