Talented Shropshire joiner downs tools ready for retirement

A talented Shropshire joiner who ‘has never been short of work’ is finally downing tools ready for retirement. John Watkins, 66, from Telford, has been a joiner all his working life, spending the last 12 years running his own business from a workshop at Bradford Estates on the Shropshire/Staffordshire border.

Mr Watkins said he was looking forward to having a rest and spending more time with his wife Dorothy. The couple, who have two sons, a daughter and four grandchildren, are both avid Shrewsbury Town FC fans and are regular visitors to Montgomery Waters Meadow.

“I’ve done carpentry all my life, I’ve never done anything else, and before setting up my own workshop at Bradford Estates I worked at a place in Newport,” said Mr Watkins.

“The chap who employed me died very suddenly and his partner really didn’t want to carry on, so that was that. I had known about Bradford Estates for a while and thought why not have a go on my own. I moved in about 12 years ago and have never regretted it.

“I didn’t do anything for Bradford Estates initially, it was all my own work, but over time they saw what I could do and I started doing work for them – something which grew over the years. I must say I’ve never been short of work and have been working seven days a week regularly right up to retirement.

“I’ve always believed in doing the job properly and taking pride in my work. It has to be right when it goes out. I’ve done all sorts over the years, windows, doors, furniture and staircases, including some fancy ones in oak. People must have been pleased with my work because they kept coming back!”

Bradford Estates arranged some drinks to mark Mr Watkins’ retirement on his final day at work on Thursday 31st March.

“My wife and I have no plans and just intend to take things as they come. I’ll be glad to have a bit of a rest, I’ve worked on my own for a long time and as you get older you don’t work quite so quickly and some things become more difficult.

“We are looking forward to spending more time together and will continue watching Shrewsbury Town – which can be a difficult thing to do, I’ll tell you! I’ve been to Wembley to watch them half a dozen times and never seen them win!”

Alastair Hollands, Building and Contracts Manager, said: “John is a master craftsman who has carried out a lot of work for us – much of it bespoke, such as the windows in some of our historic properties.

“He has been extremely reliable and his work has always been of the highest standard, to the point where he effectively became an additional arm and valued member of the business. I would like to thank John for all his effort and wish him and Dorothy all the best for the future as he enters retirement.”