AN employee who has notched up 50 years in the housing sector is set to retire early next year.

Eric Smith – who works for Worcestershire’s largest social landlord Fortis Living – will leave his role as a Maintenance Inspector on Monday 20 January 2020, exactly 50 years and one day since he started.

Mr Smith said : “My journey began on 19 January 1970 when I joined Martley Rural District Council as a plumber; little did I know that I would remain with the same firm – under different names – for the rest of my working life! 

“Looking back it all seemed so primitive, no mobile phones, no computers and buckets for toilets.”

 In 1974, the rural district councils – including Martley – were amalgamated to become Malvern District Council; shortly afterwards, Eric was promoted to assistant manager of Malvern’s Direct Labour Organisation, then manager and in 1986 to maintenance inspector. 

He said: “From such small beginnings, I have seen such an incredible growth in the work that we do. In 1995 the old council housing stock was transferred to the newly formed Elgar Housing Association, which then merged to become Festival Housing and again to Fortis Living. And now we have merged again to become Platform Housing Group.”

Mr Smith, who lives in Worcestershire and has been married to Carol for 53 years, is a father to two children, a grandfather to four, a step grandfather to three and a step great grandfather to a further four.

 Steve Summerfield, maintenance manager (Responsive) for Fortis Living said: “Eric’s knowledge and level of experience has spanned an incredible 50 years; he will be sorely missed, not just by the team but by me personally.  It has been a real pleasure to have known Eric and work with him and we all wish him well in this next chapter of his life.”

Eric said : “I have so many fond memories of my time here; one of the highlights was launching and delivering a community project for the disabled with Malvern Lions Club called It’s a Knock Out at The Three Counties Showground; I’m proud to say that it is still going strong after 10 years!

“It’s been such a memorable journey, meeting so many amazing people.  I have thoroughly enjoyed my work!” 

Mr Smith plans to spend time with his family and tend to his garden ahead of the summer when he plans to throw regular parties.