South East Wales

No sick days in 43 years for Clive Blackshaw of Bridgend council

A council manager who is retiring after 43 years has never had a day's sick leave throughout his career.

Bridgend's street lighting manager Clive Blackshaw joined the authority as a "stop gap between jobs", working first as an electrician.

He became a supervisor and then the manager of the electrical unit.

Mr Blackshaw attributes his perfect attendance to the discipline he was raised with, a healthy lifestyle and being lucky.

He said: "I've come into work with sciatica, shingles and coughs and colds. I think it's just the way we were brought up in our family.

"It's something that continues with you through life."

He added: "I don't drink at all, I don't smoke, I'm pretty active and I eat healthily."

Mr Blackshaw's dedication to the job saw him responding to out-of-hours emergencies on a 24-hour, seven-days-a-week basis for more than 20 years before the introduction of a weekly standby payment.

During a heavy snowfall in the winter of 1982, he was called on duty on the Thursday and chose to sleep in the depot until the following Tuesday to make sure he could support customers through the blizzards affecting the town.

He described that event as one of the abiding memories of his career, adding: "Prince Charles came down to thank us all for our efforts - that was quite a moment."

He said of his time with Bridgend: "I started my career in local government initially as a stop gap between jobs. Forty three years later and I'm still here.

"I have learnt a lot, seen many changes and made lifelong friends along the way.

'Slipping away quietly'

"I will miss my colleagues but I have plenty to keep me busy in retirement. I'm looking forward to spending more time with my family, including my four grandchildren Megan, Archie, Jessica, Paige and great grandson Joshua."

Mr Blackshaw is having a meal out with colleagues on his last day on Wednesday, the day before his 65th birthday, and then "slipping away quietly".

In 2009 he received the county's long service award and went on to represent Bridgend alongside his manager Steve Cottrell as the only two Welsh finalists in the UK council worker of the year awards in 2010.

Bridgend Town Council also awarded him a plaque recognising his long service to the town.

Council leader Mel Nott said: "Council workers often go unrecognised for their hard work and Clive is the perfect example of someone who has done his job with unwavering commitment and enthusiasm, day in day out for over 40 years.

"To do this without a single day off sick is an even greater achievement."

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