When forklift driver Martin Stiff started with leading housebuilder Persimmon Homes, Margaret Thatcher had just started her premiership and a pint of beer was 35p.
This week Martin, of Dogsthorpe, Peterborough, hung up his hard hat for the final time as he headed off into retirement.
Martin, 65, started out as a labourer with builder Ideal Homes in August 1979, a company which was later acquired by Persimmon.
He has seen countless people come and go during a career which has spanned five decades – and many changes to the housebuilding industry, too.
Martin, who most recently has been working at Persimmon’s Cardea development in Stanground, said: “The biggest change to the job has been the health and safety aspect of it. Years ago it was not something that was really thought about, but today everything is in place to look after the workforce.
“The forklift itself has also changed a lot and is now far more sophisticated than it was in the ‘80s.
“I’ve seen a lot of people come and go over the years and met some great guys along the way. It’s been great and there has always been a lot of camaraderie on site.
“Persimmon has been a great employer but I’ve worn myself out. It’s a physical job and it’s time for me to retire.”
After years of getting out of bed at 4am to be in work for 7am, Martin is looking forward to a slightly slower pace.
“Fishing is my main hobby so I will be doing plenty of that as well as working on the house,” he said.
Martin was given a sterling send-off by colleagues at the Apple Cart pub on Friday.
Simon McDonald, managing director at Persimmon Homes East Midlands, said: “We thank Martin for his loyal service and wish him well for the future.
“Martin has been a dedicated hard worker and a real asset to the sites he has worked on.
“There are many people like Martin within our business, and we couldn’t achieve the results we do without them.”
Persimmon Homes is currently very busy in Peterborough with developments across the city, as well as others in Narborough, Boston and Bedford.
Visit www.persimmonhomes.com for more information.