When Frank Kay started work as a 15-year-old apprentice making the tea he was told the job had prospects.
But the Preston vehicle builder never expected that half a century on he would retire as a director of the same company.
“I just worked my way up gradually,” said Frank who said farewell to Fosters Commercials yesterday after almost 50 years loyal service.
“I was just very fortunate the company gave me the opportunities it did. I’m grateful.”
Frank, brought up in the Brookfield area of Preston, joined Fosters after leaving the Blessed John Southworth RC School in 1964. After serving his time - including making the brews - he progressed through the ranks into management.
“First it was foreman, then I went into the office and eventually I became a director,” he said. “I’ve loved every job I’ve had with the company - in fact I’ve loved every day of the time I’ve been there. It’s been great.
“Needless to say in the vehicle business I’ve seen plenty of changes. When I started the vehicle bodies were built from timber. We used to get the wood from the stack, machine it up and then cut and shape it.
“As time went on the materials switched to steel, aluminium and fibreglass.”
Fosters opened in 1937 and has been on its present site in Fylde Road, Preston since 1938. The company now employs almost 30 staff and makes the bodies for a variety of commercials - even some specialist vehicles for the fire service.
“Years ago I worked on a project to build a racing car transporter for a local driver called David Bridges, that was interesting,” recalled Frank.
“I’ve had a great time over the time I’ve been there. I’m sad to go, but I know I’m leaving it in good hands. My son Kevin is now a director too.”