Five decades add up for wages boss

210912 Retiral of derek freestone at ballantines of boness.
210912 Retiral of derek freestone at ballantines of boness.

AFTER almost five decades of service at Ballantine’s, Derek Freestone bid a fond farewell last Friday not just to the iron foundry where he oversaw the wages, but also to Bo’ness.

Pastures new beckon for the recently-turned 65-year-old in his retirement. Derek is permanently moving to East Renfrewshire to be with his wife of around two-and-a-half years, Freda, her horses, and their golden retriever.

“I think I’ll enjoy Monday morning,” he joked. “I was always up at 5.30am to get back through for my work.”

As well as being on dogwalking duties, Derek said: “I’m thinking about getting the golf clubs out again.”

Derek joined Ballantine’s as an office boy 48 years ago, straight from Linlithgow Academy. For around the past 20 years he has done the pay slips.

He’s enjoyed the workplace camaraderie at Links Road, where he’s witnessed the advancement of technology over the years within the industry.

His collections of stamps – including the recent Olympics set – golf score cards and ball markers will be heading westwards too, but he will be back to Bo’ness to visit mum Elizabeth at Dean Court sheltered housing.

Colleague Jim Brooks said: “We will be sorry to see him go.”

His amazing memory would be missed, said the firm’s buyer, “but not the fact he’s a Hearts supporter!”