Half a century in driving seat

Loyal: Kenny Baker under the bonnet of a Jaguar, cars he has kept running after for 50 years.   PICTURE: STEVE PARKIN.
Loyal: Kenny Baker under the bonnet of a Jaguar, cars he has kept running after for 50 years. PICTURE: STEVE PARKIN.
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WITH more than five decades of service under his tool belt, anyone could forgive mechanic Kenny Baker for hanging up his wrench.

But the 65-year-old, who celebrated 50 years of loyal service to a Sheffield garage, has no desire to put his feet up just yet.

Kenny, of Parson Cross, Sheffield, first joined Hatfields Jaguar dealership in September 1962 at 15, when the Beatles recorded their first single Love Me Do, Dr No was at the cinema and the price of a Ford Cortina family saloon was just £573.

The teenager started out as the youngest member of the firm – credited with being the oldest established Jaguar dealership in the world – and is now its oldest and longest-serving employee.

Despite advances in technology meaning much of motoring relies on computers, something Kenny admits he has little grasp of, there is always the need for his old-school expertise at the business on Sharrow Vale Road.

And to reward his loyalty, Kenny will be given a brand new car – but not a Jaguar.

The car manufacturer also loaned out a special e-type, one of the most prestigious models during Kenny’s apprentice days.

The father-of-one said: “I turned 65 but I wanted to stay on and reach 50 years. It’s a real milestone. There are not many people my age who can say they have done that.

“Technology has changed everything. These days everything is electronically controlled. In my day we used spanners and took things to pieces but now it’s all done with computers.

“They give me the nickname Static Ken because if I go near a computer it blows up!

“That said, a car always needs servicing every 12 months and that’s basically what I do. I’ve been very well looked after here.

“I don’t want to retire, work keeps me getting out of bed of a morning. You read of these folk who retire and two years later they’re dead because they’ve stagnated. I still enjoy messing about with cars so I’m carrying on regardless.”

Gareth Williams, managing director of Hatfields, said: “I have never known anybody work for 50 years at the same place doing the same job. It’s incredible.”