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Tuesday, 21 October 2014

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Longtown workers’ 114 years of service recognised with medals

Three people have been rewarded with medals after spending a combined 114 years at one workplace.

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From left, David Johnston, Gill Bzik and David Metcalfe

Gill Bzik, David Metcalfe and David Johnston all received the Imperial Service Medal, an award given to long-serving civil servants on their retirement.

All three, who retired last year, were back at their old workplace, Defence Munitions Longtown, to receive the awards.

Mrs Bzik, 62, of Moor Crescent, Longtown, was at the depot for 37 years.

She retired in June last year after spending the whole of her career there working as a typist.

She said that the people and the working atmosphere had been the highlights of her time there. She made a large number of friends working there, many of whom she still keeps in touch with.

There were big changes at the depot during her time there.

When she first started work, it was operated by the British Army and most of the workers there were soldiers.

Now though it is a Ministry of Defence establishment, staffed by civil servants.

Mrs Bzik added: “When I started I used a typewriter, when I left it was a computer.”

Since leaving, she has devoted much of her time to redecorating her home but insists she has plans to do much more in the near future.

She enjoyed her time working at the depot but added: “It’s not so nice now because there is the threat of closure, but the unions are doing their best.”

Mrs Bzik was also delighted to receive the award.

For Mr Metcalfe, receiving the medal meant going back to the workplace where he spent 45 years of his life.

He got a job at the depot in 1966, when he was just 19-years-old.

Now 65, Mr Metcalfe, who lives in Sheffield Street, Denton Holme, Carlisle, started off in the process building and then worked in stores. This job saw him deal with a wide variety of defence components.

“The biggest change was when the new company came up, then things seemed to change all the time,” he said.

“It’s quite different now because of computers and other equipment. When I started the ammunition was manhandled but now they have forklifts.”

He was pleased when he was presented with the medal, in front of friends and former colleagues.

Mr Johnston, 66, of Burn Street, Longtown, was also delighted. He worked at the depot for 32 years.

“I’m quite happy with it,” he said.

He added that the biggest change had been the number of staff at the depot, which currently employs 250 people but used to have many more staff.

Despite his pride, he won’t be showing the medal off at home.

“I’m not one for hanging things up,” he said.

The medals were presented by Andrew Davidson, the depot’s head of establishment.

He said: “It is absolutely fantastic when we are able to recognise the loyalty of our staff.”

He added that loyal staff made a big difference to any organisation and that this is a quality which should be encouraged.

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