Merv Howard commenced work with RM Penny on the 6th May 1968, some 50 years on, he is now ready for retirement!
“I was so excited to start,” says the 72-year-old, who lives in Oakhill. “I asked the company I was with previously to put me on the diggers, but they didn’t. So, I saw an advert in the paper, had an interview with Roger Penny on a Saturday lunchtime and got the job for about £30 a week. I had a little digger with no cab, sitting there in all weathers.”
Merv remembers his first job fondly: “I went to High Littleton to dig house foundations. I’d never done it before in my life! But the builder was pleased with what I did.”
He wasn’t the only one. Merv spent almost twenty years on the machines, ending up on a track excavator which many colleagues said he could ‘make sing’. But in 1984, the decision was made to swap the diggers for a desk and move to the RM Penny office.
“I felt as if I needed a change, but the first few weeks I thought I was never going to be able to stick it. I did, and I’ve been in here ever since.”
Merv Howard is now Plant Hire Manager, but not for much longer. “I have a few sheep and cows who I can spend more time with soon, and of course my wife. We love walking, so we can do more of that, too.”
It is the second time Merv has announced his retirement after he changed his mind a couple of years ago. But this, he says, is final.
“I feel like I’m ready to go now, but it’ll take a while to get used to not having that daily purpose here. I’ve always enjoyed my work, and I’d like to thank Roger – who is also still here, all these years on – for giving me the job and being a good boss.”