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It’s the final brick in the wall for loyal Denis

Denis Throup, one of the York Handmade Brick Company’s longest-serving and most loyal employees, is retiring.

Denis, who is 65, has spent half his life at the award-winning brick manufacturing company, based at Alne, near Easingwold.

He joined York Handmade as a general labourer in 1989, just one year after the company was formed.

“This was a new departure for me at the time,” recalled Denis, who is originally from Husthwaite but now lives in Haxby, near York. “I had spent the first part of my working life as a gamekeeper, first in Yorkshire and then in Scotland.”

“But when the opportunity came up to join a new and exciting brick-making company close to home, it was too good to miss. Little did I know that I would spend the next 32 years here. And I have enjoyed every minute.”

In 1994 Denis became York Handmade’s first-ever Quality Manager, a crucial role which was later expanded to include Health and Safety Management.

David Armitage, founder and chairman of York Handmade, explained: “We have always placed tremendous emphasis on health and safety and quality control at York Handmade and both are central to our day-to-day operation. The quality of our bricks is essential to our success.

“Denis has carried out his duties and responsibilities in the most exemplary fashion and has been the most loyal and hard-working of employees. He should be very proud of what he has achieved here. We shall miss him badly, but he deserves a long and happy retirement.”

In 2006 Denis was awarded his National Examination Board Occupational Safety and Health certificate (NEBOSH), having attended a 15-week course, once a week, at York College and sitting three detailed exams at the end.

Denis explained: “That enabled me to set up and run our complex Integrated Management Systems department, which combines quality control, health and safety and the environment. This was quite a task. For example, every single product that we use had to be tested for its carbon emission. And, of course, we must reduce our carbon footprint wherever we can.

“I am very proud to have played my part in the success of York Handmade, which has grown from a small brick-making concern in 1989 to one of the most successful independent brickmakers in the UK, responsible for some stunning buildings across the country.

“I will miss York Handmade – I have made some friends for life here, many of whom have worked for the company as long as I have, which says so much about what a wonderful place it is to work, but it’s now time for the next chapter of my life.”

Denis plans to spend more time with his family, as well as working part-time for a farmer friend and enjoying his hobbies of oil-painting, collecting ancient flints and D-I-Y.