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Front Page | UK | In depth | The Golden Jubilee
The Golden Jubilee 1952-2002


It's our working jubilee too!


Val Proudfoot
Les Henry
David Conn
Jim Kerr
Jack Shirvell
Tom Griffith
Lesley Eke
Audrey Hawkin
Dai Owen
Jim Dade
Sadie Jefferson
James Finlay
Jim Kerr
Jim Kerr is celebrating his own Golden Jubilee this year. On August 4 he will have spent 50 years with a company selling agricultural equipment.

Jim was born and raised on a farm. He thinks that is why he was drawn to the business of selling machinery to farmers.


Jim's mobile phone has made his job a lot easier
He started working for George Henderson Ltd, a family firm in the outskirts of Edinburgh, when he was 15-years-old.

"I started in the stores and workshop, learning the mechanical side," he says. "Although it's probably true to say my eye was always on the sales side."

When he was 18, Jim went to Inverness to do his national service with the Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders. His tour took him to Korea and Aden during the Suez Canal crisis.

Trust

Two years later he came back to Scotland and within a few months he was a salesman.

Many of the farming families Jim dealt with in those early days are still on his books – although in many cases he now works with the younger generations.

Don Barrie, who owns a farm in the Scottish borders, has been buying equipment from Jim for more than 25 years.

"You get to trust him, and you need that nowadays," he says. "You know that no matter how big or small the order, you can rely on Jim."

Jim says his customers have always been loyal to him – even through tough times like the foot-and-mouth crisis. This and a good relationship with his employers have helped him build up his 50 years of service.

Good times and bad

"The firm's been good to me, but at the same time some people might say I've been good to them with my sales record. In the difficult times I've had a lot of loyalty from my customers. I'd probably find it difficult to part with them."


Jim spends his working day surrounded by beautiful scenery
His customers have also been very supportive during periods of ill health.

In 1989 Jim had a heart transplant. However he recovered well and a year later he ran in the British Transplant Games to raise money for charity. He won two silver medals and went on to win many more over the next few years.

The high point of his athletics career came in 1997 when he became the first Scottish man to compete in the World Transplant Games. There, in Sydney, he won a silver medal in the long jump and two sprinting bronze medals.

Time to retire…? No!

Last year, when he underwent a hip replacement operation, Jim says the idea of retiring did finally cross his mind.

"I was off for four and a half weeks but I was so fed up when I was off, I thought 'This isn't going to do me if I retire' so I decided to carry on."

Five weeks after his operation, Jim was back at work showing off the latest products and networking at the Peebles Show.

There's no doubt that his job has changed throughout the years. Sales of high tech lawnmowers and other gardening gadgets to golf clubs, schools and private estates have become an important part of the business – Jim says he never stops learning about new products.

His mobile phone has also become a vital tool.

"Before you had to dash a few miles to a telephone box if someone was desperate to get something. I used to keep a special box with plenty of change in it."

Jim's mode is transport is also a little more comfortable these days.

When he first started in the workshop, Jim did his errands on his bike. He still has it, a reminder of how much things can change.

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