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Last Updated: Saturday, 15 April 2006, 11:00 GMT 12:00 UK
End of MG Rover 'was a blessing'
by Zoe Gough
BBC News, Birmingham

Norman and Joseph Hanson
Norman says MG Rover has allowed him to 'live the dream'
A year since being made redundant by MG Rover Norman Hanson is looking forward to another life-changing experience.

The former logistics operator was one of the 5,000 employees who received their redundancy notices on 15 April last year.

Since then he has struggled with a number of firsts including writing his CV and signing on, as well as months of rejection by potential employers.

Last December he finally landed a job as an entertainment adviser for a firm that maintains television units next to the beds in Selly Oak Hospital, Birmingham.

But the pay-cut has proved difficult and now Mr Hanson, 48, is taking his wife, Melanie and 16-year-old son Joseph to make a fresh start in Devon.

"When redundancy first happened I was shocked but now looking back it has given me the opportunity to live the dream," he said.

'Worked out brilliant'

"Moving to Devon is something we've always wanted to do but we always put it off. Now we are going to go and do it.

"Small things that happened at the hospital - like patients the same age as me dying - helped us decide we're going to live for each other."

His house has been sold and the family are just waiting for their purchase of a new home in Newton Abbot to be finalised.

With a new future secured he admits the closing of the Longbridge has actually been a blessing for him.

"If it hadn't been for Rover I wouldn't have been able to buy our house to sell it to buy down in Devon," he said.

Norman Hanson
I talked to another lad coming up to 60 who is stacking shelves and it's killing him - that is the other side of it
Norman Hanson

"Me and the wife are both going to get part-time jobs - just enough to get by - and enjoy each other's company.

"I would even have it happen again to me - I've been through dark days but things have worked out brilliant."

But reflecting on the last 12 months for the entire workforce he does feel some regret.

"There's sadness at the passing of the British car industry and I miss all of my mates - the comradeship - that's the biggest thing I've lost.

"I'm glad Rover is still in the news, something should be done but I don't think Nanjing are the right people to do it."

His former team leader has been keeping the 40 or so workers from Mr Hanson's department in contact and has organised a reunion later this month.

"He's said with people working or moving this will probably be the last one we have," Mr Hanson said.

"They've struggled to find work mainly but I do know three people who found work around Selly Oak Hospital - two as porters and one as a student nurse.

"They said it was a big change - the drop in money, they didn't know how they'd manage but they did and they seem to be a lot happier.

"But then I talked to another lad coming up to 60 who is stacking shelves and it's killing him - that is the other side of it."

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