TWO long-serving employees at Relyon in Wellington have signed off after clocking up almost 100 years between them.

Keith Hockey and Ian Glover retired from the bed manufacturing firm after 48 and 49 years’ service respectively.

But the duo knew each other long before they started at the Station Mills factory, having been friends at school.

The pair grew up two streets apart in Wellington and both attended Corams Lane Primary and Court Fields schools in the same classes throughout.

They started at Relyon as apprentices, aged 15, and both have fond memories of a former department known as Wessex, which manufactured furniture and prepared all the wooden components for the divan bases made on-site.

Ian, now 64, said: “Our lives have intertwined right the way through really, we even live on the same street now.”

Keith, 63, added: “We both love gardening and we’ve swapped plants constantly over the years’ It’s quite nice to have known someone for so long and followed a similar path along the way.”

Six other employees are currently set to retire from the company with a range of nine to 49 years’ service.

Most staff were born and bred in Wellington and managing director Andy Murdoch says it is good for the firm to give something back to the town.

He said: “Supporting the local area is something that Relyon constantly strives to achieve and employees giving us such long and dedicated service certainly rewards us in return.

“We are proud to have given a life-long career to these two skilled craftsmen and many others.”

Relyon is re-launching its apprenticeship scheme after more than a ten-year gap from formal apprenticeship-style training and seven youngsters will be taken on.

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