John Wakeling retires after 50-year career with Great Blakenham-based BSP International Foundations

John Wakeling, left, who has retired as manufacturing director at BSP International Foundations, wit

John Wakeling, left, who has retired as manufacturing director at BSP International Foundations, with Tony Mallet, BSP's new manufacturing manager - Credit: Archant

A director at Suffolk engineering company BSP International Foundations, who worked his way up through the ranks after joining as an apprentice, has retired after a career spanning 50 years.

John Wakeling joined the piling equipment company, based at Great Blakenham, near Ipswich, in 1967 at the age of 15, as an engineering apprentice.

He progressed to a supervisory position in the inspection department and then to the role of works superintendent before becoming production manager and eventually, in 1998, manufacturing director, a job he end for 19 years until his retirement.

One of the highlights in his early years was the introduction of the first hydraulic hammer, which the company pioneered during the 1970s. “This model, the BSP357, was one of the most popular hammers we ever produced”, he said.

Born and bred in Ipswich John is married to Linda with whom he has three children followed by six grandchildren. Now that he has retired his intention is to spend quality time with his wife and grandchildren as well as playing a lot more golf which he says was restricted to weekends during his working life.

He added: “After 50 very enjoyable and rewarding years with BSP, I feel the time is now right to vacate my chair and desk. I cannot deny it will not be easy but, with the family’s help and the opportunity of following a small white ball around a lovely green sward, I think I shall adapt without too much effort.

“I now leave taking with me some very special memories for which I wish to thank BSP and all the staff with whom I was involved. May BSP continue to be very successful company for long and many a day.”

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A spokesman for BSP said: “In his capacity as manufacturing director John has been consistent in his management by encouraging initiative and cultivating team work among his staff. He has helped the manufacturing department exceed in several areas and by making a significant contribution to further the interests and viability of the company. In addition, he has helped in training by passing his experience and knowledge onto other employees.”

He added: “Being able to use his talents and to leave a legacy is something most people aspire to and John has succeeded in doing this. And through it all he has been almost self-effacing in seeking recognition for his achievements.

“One of the many nice things his colleagues say about John is that he is essentially the same person who joined BSP way, way back in 1967.”