A1 Flue Systems’ employee, Paddy White, is retiring after 38 years’ service – but he’s not longest serving employee, as colleague Dave Smith has clocked up 44 years and counting.
Paddy was one of the first people to join the company, which now employs 145 members of staff.
During his time, Paddy has overseen the installation of flue and chimney systems in some of the UK’s most iconic buildings, including Buckingham Palace and The Shard. He’s also installed systems at most of the UK’s major sporting venues, including the Millennium Stadium, Twickenham Stadium and the Emirates Stadium. He has also been involved in projects on homes belonging to celebrities including Bono and Rod Stewart.
Paddy, who turns 65 years old this month, says it’s time to slow down after starting as the only installer for the Ollerton-based company and being promoted to the position of managing a team of 19 installers across the UK.
He said: “I’ve had a good a life at A1 installing flue systems on some of the most famous buildings in Britain, and I’ve met some great people along the way. I’ve worked on projects at Manchester United and Liverpool and have met all the players; I’ve travelled right across the UK and Ireland – often working 80–90 hours a week – and I’ve loved every minute of it.”
He added: “I’ll miss everyone at A1 because I’ve been part of something that has snowballed into such a big company and I’m very proud of that.”
Of all the celebrities he has met whilst working for A1, Paddy says former boxer Frank Bruno is the one that always springs to mind because he is such a gentleman.
Everyone at A1 Flue Systems will miss Paddy, according to Directors TJ Duncan-Moir and John Hamnett – especially his “Paddyisms” of getting well-known phrases completely wrong.
“Killing one bird with two stones is a legendary one that everyone at A1 quotes,” said TJ, who fondly remembers Paddy working with her father Colin when the business was getting off the ground in the 1970s and 1980s.
“A1 Flues is a family business and Paddy is a key part of that. It’s the right time for him to retire but it’s going to leave a big Paddy-shaped hole at A1, and we will all miss him dearly.”
John Hamnett joined A1 straight from school at 16 years old and said that Paddy took him under his wing.
“Paddy taught me the ropes and gave me an invaluable grounding in the industry over the years,” said John. “I’ve seen first-hand how he’s brought on all our installers, and we have an installation team that is the envy of the industry because we have such a depth of experience and practical understanding that we can apply to the most challenging projects. We want to thank Paddy for everything, and we’ll really miss him about the place.”
Paddy is looking forward to spending more time with his beloved granddaughter, as well as more time in the gardening and fishing.
Pictured above L to R: TJ Duncan-Moir, Paddy and John Hamnett