There aren’t many people who can say they’ve been with a company for 50 years but Willie Clarkson from Haddington is one of them.
At the tender age of 15, he started out as apprentice at Kincardine power station on 6 July 1964, and could never have imagined what the future had in store. Willie’s apprenticeship with the South of Scotland Electricity Board soon turned into a rewarding career in the energy industry and – half a century later – he has received a rare award, marking 50-years of service with EDF Energy and its predecessor companies. At the age of 65, Willie continues to work as a contract manager at Torness Nuclear Power Station at Dunbar.
Willie started his career as a mechanical fitter and later moved to Longannet power station as a general assistant engineer. He then applied for a position at Inverkip power station and spent five happy years there before returning to Longannet for a further five years. He then made the move to Torness 28 years ago. Willie started working at Torness during construction and his role was in the maintenance department looking after contracts. He was also an integral part of the opening when more than 6000 people a day visited the new site and when asked about a special memory in his career he recalled; “That fine day in May”. Willie is of course referring to the Torness official opening on 13 May 1989 by Rt Hon Margaret Thatcher MP.
Willie has no regrets about his choice of career all those years ago.
He said: “I have never had a day when I didn’t want to go to work. I have always loved working in the industry and am appreciative of the many opportunities it provided me with.”
During his career he has enjoyed watching young people joining the organisation as nervous new recruits and growing into leaders. “When I was young we had gas lighting and a wireless powered by battery in our home. Now we have ipads, televisions and wireless internet hubs – all made possible by electricity,” he said.
Station director Paul Winkle commented: “This really is a fantastic achievement for Willie and he should be very proud. We are delighted to still have Willie working here at the station and his experience and expertise are valued very highly.”
Willie married Isobel in 1969 and they have two children – a son and daughter – as well as four grandchildren. When he does finally decide it’s time to retire, he is not likely to be bored. He is an enthusiastic gardener and is renovating an old house in the Falkirk area to be closer to his family.