A BREWERY engineer has called time on a 50-year career at John Smith’s in Tadcaster.

Mick Hallaways, who joined the brewery at the age of 15 in April 1964, on a starting wage of £6 per week, reported to 15 managers and saw six changes of ownership over the half century.

He told how working conditions had changed during his time at John Smith’s, recalling: “If you were employed in the brewhouse, the foreman would give you a cold beer to offset the heat you had to work in.

“He would issue each employee with two bottles of Courage Light Ale per day – and if you didn’t return the empties, you didn’t get your allowance.”

Mr Hallaways, who lives in Leeds Road, Tadcaster, told how, on his 16th birthday, he became an apprentice engineer, completing his apprenticeship in 1971, the same year he married his wife Ann.

The changes in ownership of the brewery culminated in 2009 when it was bought from Scottish & Newcastle by Heineken.

Mick’s milestone achievement was honoured at a special presentation where he received tickets for a VIP trip for two aboard the Belmond Northern Belle luxury train to Mount Snowdon and a framed print of the brewery.

Brewery manager Martin Kochl paid tribute to his service saying: “Celebrating 50 years’ service with one company and on one site is a milestone that very few workers can hope to achieve.”

Heineken UK managing director David Forde added his thanks to Mick for his commitment and wished him a long and happy retirement.