FOR 50 years Roger Harris has had an integral role in shaping Gosport, working as a carpenter for the council.
But this month the 65-year-old has retired and hung up his workman’s belt, turning to household maintenance he has neglected all these years.
Despite leaving the industry, Roger, of Molesworth Road in Gosport, will be better remembered for arrivals to work.
When he started as a 15-year-old apprentice he would arrive for work on a push bike with his tools, before progressing to a motorbike with sidecar to store his gear.
He even used a handcart before vans were introduced to make his job easier.
His team awarded him a Makita planer so he can get on with all the household tasks he has planned in his retirement, which he is looking forward to doing at his own pace.
And the Mayor of Gosport, Councillor Richard Dickson, dropped in at the Kier depot to wish him well and thank him.
Roger’s long career has seen him tend to many council homes, libraries, public conveniences and museums before briefly becoming office-based.
But the craftsman preferred his tools and quickly moved back to the front line.
Roger said: ‘I went back on the tools and enjoyed it.
‘Although, as you get older you’re not so physically strong so it starts to get a bit of a chore – that’s why I chose to retire.
‘I was finding it harder than it used to be so it’s not so much fun.
‘I enjoyed the satisfaction of doing a job, repairing or renewing something.’
Roger added he has many fond memories from his career.
He started as an apprentice after leaving Bridgemary Secondary Modern to start a four-year apprenticeship in 1963.
As a carpenter and multi-trader he worked first for the council and various contractors who have taken over the maintenance work, latterly working for Kier.
He said he will miss the good banter with his workmates.
Kier regional managing director David Mawson paid tribute to Roger’s lifetime of work and the two years he has worked at the company.
He said: ‘Congratulations to Roger for reaching this remarkable 50-year milestone. His continued commitment has helped to improve the service offered to the residents of Gosport and I wish him all the best for his retirement.’