Shropshire Star

Watch: Sawmill founder and great-grandad shows no signs of cutting back from work at 96

At 96, the founder of a sawmill has clocked up almost 82 years of work - and has no plans to give it up anytime soon.


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Bill Parton, founder of Hales Sawmill in Market Drayton, turned 96 on Wednesday.

The company was established in 1982 but Bill's working life began long before, having taken up work as a plumber's apprentice back in Easter 1942 at just 14 years old.

Almost 82 years later, he still turns up for work five days a week - having only dropped his sixth day a year ago.

"I used to be the gaffer, now I'm the go-fer," Bill said. "I don't do much these days but I'm always on hand if they need me."

42 years ago, Bill started the business with just two employees. Now, Hales has over 60, spread across two sites in Market Drayton and Shrewsbury.

Bill Parton turned 96 on Wednesday

These days, the company is in the hands of its third generation - Bill's grandchildren, Owen, Lewis and Gemma. Before that, it was with Julian, one of Bill's sons.

Bill, and his late wife, Joan, had four sons during their 60-year marriage. The pair had met dancing in Whitchurch aged 19. Joan died over Christmas in 2012.

"She was the real boss," Bill said. "She had the brains, she always knew what we were doing.

"It's wonderful to see it pass through to the third generation, but it's sad that Joan never got to see it through."

Even though Bill, now grandad to ten and great-grandfather to six, has clocked up over eight decades of work, he has no plans to retire and claims his impressive age is all down to his strong work ethic.

"The trick is to not stop. Keep working," he said. "I've never been down the dole office, I wouldn't know what to do if I went in."