A SKIPTON mechanic is celebrating a landmark anniversary at the garage where he began his career.

George Allen began his four-year apprenticeship at the age of 15 at Skipton Motor Company, in Water Street, in July 1970 and says he intends to carry on for a while yet.

The premises has seen a number of changes over the years, initially being a Volkswagen agent before moving to British Leyland, Rover Triumph and Land Rover with the large premises at the front, latterly a Carphone Warehouse outlet, being a car showroom attached to the dealership.

In the 1980s another change saw the company become Datsun agents.

Later there was to be an even bigger change.

George, together with colleague David Baxter, who retired four years ago, started Skipton Auto Services on April 1, 1988, as an independent MOT and service garage specialising in Nissan and Volkswagen.

David, known for his horticultural skills and prize-winning floral displays around the garage, still helps George out with MOTs but the rest of the time George works on his own, with his wife, Kath, part-time in the office.

Working on all makes of car, George said he has seen many changes over the last five decades, mostly in computerised technology.

“I have had to keep up with all this. At one time if your car broke down you could usually fix it at the roadside.

“These days they are all computerised and it’s a case of getting the recovery service out because it is breaks down, there’s usually not a lot you can do.”

He also said a pet hate in modern vehicles was the lack of a spare wheel, even a space saver wheel that would get you home - as long as you could get the wheel nuts off the damaged wheel.

“It’s just how things have gone, probably to save that bit of space and weight,” he said.

George carried on working part-time during the initial lockdown, diverting the phone to his home address, in Sough, and working at the garage one day a week.

“It was mainly to help out customers who needed it. Gradually I have increased it.”

He enjoys a loyal customers base with many sticking with him during their driving lifetime.

Despite hitting 66 next year he isn’t thinking of hanging up his overalls any time soon.

“I still enjoy the work. I like being presented with something that needs mending and being able to fix it and make it right again. That still gives me a lot of job satisfaction,” he said.

“I think Kath has other ideas and would like me to retire but it will be a bit, yet.”