Sixth time around for forging links

Ian Campbell with former staff members of Foster Wheelers who posed for a Mail picture in 2008.
Ian Campbell with former staff members of Foster Wheelers who posed for a Mail picture in 2008.

FORMER colleagues from an engineering firm will get together for their sixth annual reunion.

Around 50 people who worked at the former Foster Wheeler Power Products factory in Hartlepool will gather at The Clarendon pub, in the town’s Tower Street, for the event.

It will take place from 7pm on Friday, September 2.

Ian Campbell, who worked as a turner and later a shop steward for the Brenda Road-based firm from 1980 to 1990, the year it closed, is organising the event and rallying up ex-colleagues.

But sadly, the brave dad-of-one will not be attending as he will be in hospital having an operation.

Ian, who turned 62 yesterday, was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2009 and had a course of chemotherapy.

He is in remission and is due to undergo follow-up surgery at the University Hospital of North Tees, in Stockton, to make sure the cancer has completely gone.

Ian, who is married to Sandra and lives in Queensland Road, Hartlepool, said: “It’s the first one I’ve missed.

“I’ve organised them all, but it’s health first, reunion later, though I am still ringing round people to remind them about the event.”

Ian, who has a daughter called Debbie Campbell and grandchildren called Joshua Tucker, six, and Daniel Tucker, three, said: “I want to remind the older workers about it. It’s 21 years since we closed and some of us were 45 and 50.

“Last time we had between 55 and 60 people there.

“I hope they all turn up this time so they can have a good natter.”

The majority of workers are still based in Hartlepool, and some will be attending the event from east Durham, including Peterlee and Shotton.

Ian, who worked at HQ Engineering after leaving Foster Wheeler’s, said among the ex-staff expected to turn up are Denis Bowman, Stan Young, Alan Parrish, Gordon Lewis, Mick Waller, George Cooper, Dennis Thompson and Peter Reynolds, who all mainly worked in the factory’s nuclear shop.

He also hopes others, including Ron Readman, Ian Lowther, Ged Henderson, Ronnie Lloyd, Peter Allen, Micky Warner, Harry Oxley and Mel Thomas will be atteding.

Foster Wheeler’s, which made generators for submarines and boilers, opened in the mid-1960s but closed around 25 years later following a short spell of management by Rolls-Royce.

In its heyday, it employed around 250 people, but the number dwindled to 50 to 60 towards the end.

Anyone wanting to find out more about the event can call Ian on (01429) 422074.