When we call Barry Watson, he’s working in his garden, which fits our story quite nicely, as you’ll see…
‘It might take me a while to find him,’ June, his wife, tells us; apologizing in advance. However, it’s not long before that familiar voice is once again on the end of the phone; evidently ‘tickled’ to be interviewed for our newsletter.
In common with many of his former colleagues, Barry’s appointment came as the result of a staff member’s recommendation. ‘My first job was in Preventative Maintenance’, he says. ‘Then, I went as an engineer, repairing vending machines in Coventry, Warwick and Birmingham. One of my biggest customers was Coventry Gauge and Tool, and I also had Birmingham University and Birmingham Children’s Hospital. After that, I was Installations Manager, helping to take sales enquiries; going out on inspections and installing on site.’
When, finally, the time came for Barry to hand in his car-keys, he’d given forty years of his working life to Coinadrink. He too with him ‘lots of great memories’, And as for those car keys… ‘When I retired, they gave me my company car to say ‘thank-you’.’ So he didn’t have to hand them in after all. ‘It really is a great company’, he says simply.
Meanwhile, remember the ‘garden’ connection? If Barry had a nickname at Coinadrink, then it would be ‘The Sunflower Man.’ He’s a mad-keen, all-weather, all-hours gardener and every year, Barry would bring armfuls of sunflowers in to work, to be dished out to staff and their kids.
Shortly before he called it a day, he heard a little girl lament to her mother: ‘Now that Mr. Watson is retiring’, she said,’does that mean I won’t get my sunflower anymore?’
‘So I told her’, Barry says, ‘that as long as I’m alive, she’ll get her sunflowers all right!” True to his word, every year when they’re ready, you’ll see Barry, laden down sunflowers, heading for Coinadrink.
After that, we rarely see him until the Long Service dinner! At 73 years of age, Barry’s got himself a part-time job, working from 6am to 8am, five days a week. And as for what he does in his spare time? Well, we think you can probably guess…