A steelworks guide who is still inspiring future generations more than 60 years after joining the industry celebrates a major milestone this weekend.
Terry Longmate started his steelworks career in 1955 when Winston Churchill was retiring as Prime Minister and ITV was broadcasting for the first time on UK television. The Scunthorpe-born father-of-5 is celebrating his 80th birthday on 18 November yet he continues to inspire the next generation of steelworkers after 63 years in the town’s steel industry.
“My first impressions of the industry were that it was big, dirty and noisy,” said Terry, who joined the Lysaght’s steelworks as an apprentice fitter / turner after leaving Scunthorpe’s Technical High School.
“But I knew a few of the older apprentices and it felt like I was joining a family.”
During his 63 years in the industry, Terry has worked as a draughtsman and in various senior engineering roles across the entire 2,000-acre site. He officially retired in 1999 before being asked to return to carry out housekeeping and safety audits 4 times a year. In 2005 Terry was asked to join the works guide team, showing thousands of visitors around the site and inspiring future generations. He remains a key part of this team today.
“One of the most memorable parts of my career was being told by a manager I wasn’t here to enjoy myself, which I couldn’t understand as I really loved my job. Of course, it’s changed a lot since those days.
“The main change is the increased use of technology, which has also meant a reduction in the number of people working in the industry, as well as the huge engineering improvements.
“And of course, the health and safety, which is hugely important in the steel industry and very important to me both at work and at home. Apart from dealing with a heart attack in 1996 and prostate cancer in 2011, I’ve enjoyed great health, which I put down to my lifestyle.”
When Terry’s not working as a guide he’s busy swimming, dancing, walking and spending time with his 11 grandchildren and his great granddaughter.
“When I left school, I wanted to be a teacher as I’ve always enjoyed explaining things to people and now as a works guide I’m able to pass on information about an industry I’ve worked in and been passionate about for more than 60 years.
“I’ve never regretted making the decision to work in the steel industry and I still recommend it to others. The works have given me a good living and a very interesting career. I might be 80 this month but I still enjoy what I do here. That’s what keeps me coming back after all these years.”
Steelworks Guides Co-ordinator Ron Wilkins said: “Terry is never short of stories about his impressive career and continues to captivate our visitors with his outstanding knowledge at 80 years young.
“Our job is to enthuse visitors to our site about our exciting industry. Terry is never short of enthusiasm even after 63 years. I’m certain his passion for steelmaking is as strong now as it was in 1955 as a young apprentice.
“We thank Terry for his continued commitment to our business and our industry and we wish him many happy returns on this momentous occasion.”