Billy retires after 45-year council career

Billy Greenwood (60) from Colne has retired after 45 years as a joiner working at the council.
Billy Greenwood (60) from Colne has retired after 45 years as a joiner working at the council.
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A Colne man and familiar face at Pendle Council’s Fleet Street depot has retired after dedicating his 45 year working career to local government.

Billy Greenwood (60), of Burnley Road, retired in July after working Colne Council, Pendle Council and Housing Pendle in a long career as a joiner.

There have been some bad times but you’re going to get that. I’ve loved it but it was just time to get out while I’m still vertical

Billy Greenwood

In the 1970s, he served a comprehensive five year apprenticeship covering carpentry and joinery to gain his City and Guilds followed by a further year studying for his Full Technology Certificate to cover plumbing, bricklaying and plastering.

Despite many changes down the years, one constant was Billy’s bobble hat, and he has work to thank for meeting his future wife Jenny in 1988 when out on a job.

On retiring, Billy said: “It’s been a bit strange. It’s like you’ve just gone on holiday.

“I remember my first day. On the Wednesday I was with Morris Ibbotson, he took me under his wing, and there was Barry Smith and Frank Higson.

“Those three taught me what I know. They weren’t old fashioned, but proper, and everything was timber then. On the third day I went on a flooring job and was told to get underneath it ‘because you’re not going to learn anything about it from above it’.”

With the creation of Pendle in 1974, Billy found a bit more variety with jobs in Nelson, Barrowford, Barnoldswick and Earby and in the 1980s came the maintenance of municipal buildings and one of his funniest memories.

Billy said: “A bit of gauze had blow down at the town hall used to stop the pigeons.

“I went up to fix it at about 3pm. I fixed the gauze and the bell rang one, two, three. I hit it again and right down Albert Road people couldn’t believe it thinking it was 4pm. It was absolute panic.”

Into the 1990s and 2000s, the group grew, becoming Housing Pendle in 2006 when joiners became more independent and were given tools and vans.

Billy has retired at the same time as his long term colleague and friend John Ruffles and between them have clocked up 91 years.

Billy said: “The job has been brilliant. It might be a joiner but the jobs were so varied and different.

“I would still go into work and have no idea what I was going to be doing that day. I will miss the camaraderie with the lads. With being there so long, you build up friendships.

“There have been some bad times but you’re going to get that. I’ve loved it but it was just time to get out while I’m still vertical.

“The lads bought me an engraved watch which was such a surprise. We’ve had a holiday in Wales and we’ve got one in Scotland coming up. I’m also going to enjoy more time doing my hobbies.”