• Tue. May 28th, 2024

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Derek retires after 50 years’ service at Langton’s

AN employee at one of Northallerton’s oldest companies has retired after an astonishing 50 years of service.

Derek Laking started work as an apprentice steel fabricator at Langtons Northallerton Ltd in April 1971, aged 18. Five decades later Derek has retired as Production Manager at the company, now based in Stanley House, Northallerton.

Langtons was established in 1830 as an ironmongers and blacksmith, specializing in agricultural machinery for the farming community. The business was acquired by construction company Walter Thompson in 1961 and is now a busy and successful steel fabricators providing structural steel and bespoke manufacturing solutions and products for the construction industry.

Langtons Managing Director Paul Hammerton paid tribute to Derek and his huge contribution to the company: “We’re so grateful for his dedication and decades of exemplary service to the company – he’ll be massively missed.”

After his three-year apprenticeship, Derek became a fully-fledged tradesman. He spent most of his working life at Langtons’ Finkills Way offices, where the company had moved to in 1975.

“Customers would come from far and wide to draw on Derek’s experience for problem solving. In the mid 1980s, he was promoted to Workshop Foreman and then to Workshop Manager in 1989,” explained Paul.

“It was around this time that Derek started to estimate projects for Langtons with one of his first jobs being Harrogate County House. Derek continued to price jobs from then on and soon Langtons became one of the main steel suppliers to Walter Thompson,” he added.

In the early 1990s, Derek was promoted to Production Manager and it was in this position he helped navigate one last office move to Langtons’ current headquarters in Stanley House.

“Derek stayed in his Production Manager role until his retirement after an unbelievable 50 years’ loyal service,” said Paul.

Derek reminisced about his Langtons career and recalled his biggest challenge was the intricacy involved in a project at St Peter’s School in York. The steel structure was extremely sophisticated and to add extra complexity, the installation site was particularly tight, but Derek found a solution.

Paul said: “He loved a challenge and that is just one thing we’ll miss now he’s retired – he was always popular with his colleagues who’ll miss their conversations with him.”

Derek is a huge fan of motorsport and will spend his retirement with his wife Marion in his recently-acquired campervan, touring the country and supporting his step grandson Ethan Hammerton, a successful racing driver.

“On behalf of the company and all of his work colleagues, I’d like to wish Derek a long and happy retirement – thanks for the great memories,” said Paul.