Steelworker returns to work at 72

Dalzell worker Tom Brookbanks with Motherwell and Wishaw MP Marion Fellows
Dalzell worker Tom Brookbanks with Motherwell and Wishaw MP Marion Fellows

Motherwell steelworker Tom Brookbanks is not ready to retire just yet as he’s gone back to work at the re-opened Dalzell plant at the age of 72.

Mr Brookbanks actually did retire seven years ago, but got bored watching television so when a former apprentice at Ravenscraig asked for his help he was only too happy to get back to work.

He said: “I started in Ravenscraig when I was 21 and I was in there for 26 years. I would still be there if the UK Government hadn’t shut us down because the steelwork is an absolutely fantastic job. When I was made redundant I went into shipbuilding at Yarrow, but eventually I left there due to the travelling as I’d gone from being five minutes along the road to having to go all the way over to Scotstoun.

“I ended up with many other jobs including making tin cans and processing chickens, finally making jam in Carluke until I retired for the first time when I was 65.

“After two months, though, I couldn’t handle it. I’d had enough of watching Jeremy Kyle, but luckily the Dalzell plant manager, Colin Timmons, who had been my apprentice at Ravenscraig, asked me to come back because he couldn’t get anyone.

“When Tata shut us down I went back to the jam making, but I jumped at the opportunity to come back and having been here three days a week previously I am now full-time again.

“It’s an old plant but it works, something like myself! For how long I’m here depends on me and my health.

“In December I thought that was it, I didn’t believe the plant would open up again, so I want to thank the Scottish Government and Liberty House for saving it.

“I honestly do think Liberty can make a go of Dalzell as the people employed here are really dedicated. I have no doubt it’ll be here long after I’m gone.”