Grandad Jeffrey’s pain over telling Leo dream is over

DISAPPOINTED Jeffrey Callaway, a steelworker at the shipyard, during a protest outside Portsmouth Guildhal. Picture: Sarah Standing (133131-7422)
DISAPPOINTED Jeffrey Callaway, a steelworker at the shipyard, during a protest outside Portsmouth Guildhal. Picture: Sarah Standing (133131-7422)
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ALL Jeffrey Callaway wanted to do was give his grandson the chance to build warships in Portsmouth for BAE Systems.

Mr Callaway, 54, who works at the city’s shipyard, wanted Leo, 10, to follow in his footsteps after he expressed an interest in the job at a family open day.

Before that, he was just interested in playing video games and didn’t value the importance of his grandad’s job.

But now, following the devastating announcement that the city’s shipbuilding work will be moved to the Clyde, in Scotland, by the end of next year, Mr Callaway says he has to find the courage to tell his grandson the dream is over.

‘We had a family open day and I brought my grandson down,’ Jeffrey said.

‘He is a Playstation 3 lad. I took him down to the shipyard and he saw an aircraft carrier – and he changed his mind. He said: “Grandad, I want to build battleships.”

‘I said right, I will get you in there.

‘I thought to myself, if I am still around when he is old enough to work there, I will train him.

‘Now, I have got to go home and tell my grandson that it’s finished.

‘It’s a sad day. We, the workers, are the best in what we do.

‘I didn’t do three weeks of NVQ training and then call myself a tradesman.

‘I did a five-year apprenticeship and now I’ve spent 30 years helping people.

‘It’s only just sunk in with the lads.

‘You have to ask yourself, is this business or is this about politics?

‘We don’t like politics – we build battleships.

‘We want to carry on doing that.’

As previously reported, the decision means 940 workers face redundancy between the end of this year and the latter part of 2014.

Meanwhile, a pressure group campaigning against the closure may stand a candidate in Portsmouth South in the next general election.

Portsmouth First was formed after a meeting of 20 people at The Shepherd’s Crook pub, Goldsmith Avenue.

Stuart Crow, of Clarendon Road, in Southsea, who attended, said: ‘At the moment its about raising the profile of the campaign and putting pressure to get the decision to be reversed.

‘When we got together we decided that as the dockyard is in the constituency we would stand in Portsmouth South.’

But the group has not given up all hope in MPs and councillors in the area.

It hopes local politicians and the community can get the decision overturned before the next election.