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Engineer, 26, buys Norfolk firm

PUBLISHED: 06:11 24 February 2010 | UPDATED: 11:12 07 July 2010

Chris Hill

An ambitious engineer has taken ownership of the firm where he began his career sweeping the workshop floor as an eager 13-year-old.

Harvey English, 26, has made a rapid rise through the ranks to become the boss at Wensum Engineering, in Fakenham.

An ambitious engineer has taken ownership of the firm where he began his career sweeping the workshop floor as an eager 13-year-old.

Harvey English, 26, has made a rapid rise through the ranks to become the boss at Wensum Engineering, in Fakenham.

He said he always wanted to work in engineering, which led him to ask for a Saturday job at the Hempton Road firm while he was a student at Fakenham High School.

After returning at the age of 18 to learn his trade as a full-time apprentice, he completed his journey to the top earlier this month by buying out the company with a £60,000 loan from his parents.

Last year, there were fears the firm could close down altogether after the retiring former owner George Pope, who founded the company in 1975, struggled to find a suitable buyer.

But Mr English said he was delighted to take over from the man who had helped launch his career.

“I don't think it has quite sunk in yet,” he said. “It was a bit daunting the first week but I am getting over it now and settling in.

“Engineering was something I have always enjoyed, and I used to give my dad a hand with things in the shed. I just came down one weekend and asked if they had any Saturday jobs.

“A lot of my friends had the same interest but never fulfilled it. They are mostly on the dole now, so I have been quite lucky.”

Mr English, who lives in Sculthorpe, now employs three staff - but said his colleagues' attitudes had not changed towards their new boss.

“I think they're fairly happy, as they have all still got a job,” he said. “We are hoping to take someone else on if the work keeps coming in as it has been lately.

The company manufactures metalwork including gates, railings and staircases. Mr English said it was a good time to take over the operation while the country emerges from recession.

He said: “It has been quiet for the last 18 months, but now it is picking up again quite nicely. I want to keep things going as they are - I don't like change.”

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