Otley: Bricklayer, 77, has no plans to hang up his trowel

WITH more then 60 years’ experience in a career spent mostly working in East Anglia, an expert Suffolk bricklayer is looking forward to celebrating his 14th year as a lecturer at Otley College ? with no plans for retirement.

Terry Sheldrake, 77, from Woodbridge was six years old when the Second World War started.

He remembers hearing the bombs drop on Martlesham and also saw a doodlebug-ravaged bungalow along the old A12 just outside Ipswich.

His father was in the RAF and was ground crew based and his uncle flew Lancaster bombers. “It was a tough time, but people were happy,” he recalls.

On finishing school at 14, he started a five year bricklaying apprenticeship with F Ingram Smith in 1948. After completing an approver’s course he worked in the building trade until 1958 before joining the prison service as a course instructor.

The father of one – who is still married to his childhood sweetheart, Margaret - spent 32 years working for the prison service before heading off to Felixstowe for a stint as a security guard at P&O.

Three years later, he joined Otley College as a brickwork instructor and his career continues to go from strength to strength.

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He said, “I don’t want to retire. The last thing I want to be doing is sit at home and I realise that I am lucky to have good health.”

“I really enjoy teaching people the skills I’ve learnt and I enjoy working with my work colleagues and the students. I really believe that Otley is a place where you will get opportunities – it’s down to the individual to take those opportunities. We have good instructors who are very helpful – if you don’t take opportunities in life you are wasting your time.”

“Terry is an inspiration to everyone at the college,” said Director of Construction, Paul Williamson.

“His experience is invaluable and we are delighted that he is working for us. His energy is infectious.”