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Dedicated spray-painter-turned MET technician Bryan Leadbitter was joined by friends and family along with fellow Fix Auto Durham colleagues for a socially-distanced celebration to mark his 50th anniversary of working for the family-owned repairer.

Owners Karen Young and brother Ian Smith lead the surprise celebrations at the Houghton-le-Spring site and ensured the day was one Bryan would remember.

The 66-year-old started working for their father, John, shortly after starting the business during the late 1960’s. Initially, Bryan washed cars on a Saturday while still at school and then joined full time upon leaving six months before his 16th birthday. Bryan learned his trade with the spray gun then turned his hand to all prep and MET work.

In those early days Bryan was tasked with spraying MkI Ford Cortinas, Ford Anglias and Morris Oxfords. Today, he’s regularly working on everything from the humble family favourites to Ferrari and Aston Martin supercars.

Commenting on the milestone, Ian said: “Bryan is part of the fixtures and fittings of the business and he’s family really. In fact, he joined when I was barely one! He worked for my dad shortly after he started the business and has been with us ever since. He has witnessed it grow from its humble beginnings to what we have today.

“Fifty years of loyal and dedicated service is incredible, it’s a milestone we couldn’t let pass us by so we had to organise a socially distanced surprise celebration that met all the official government guidelines.”

While Karen and Ian have organised for Bryan and his wife, Gillian, to spend a weekend at a luxury hotel in the Lake District, he also received a whole host of other gifts from the business, friends and colleagues.

“Speaking shortly after his surprise event, Bryan joked: “I wondered why my wife insisted I had a shave before I left for work! Fifty years is a long, long time and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. I know I’ve never experienced anywhere else but why would you if you like working for a family like I have over the years. I should retire in September but I’ve already asked if I can carry on for as long as they’ll have me!”


Notes to Editors:

  • Fix Auto UK is part of a global franchised network of more than 776 bodyshops.
  • Fix Auto UK carries out more than 150,000 body repairs per year for leading motor insurance companies, fleets, and retail customers.
  • Fix Auto UK, Lyndale House, Harcourt Way, Meridian Business Park, Leicester, LE19 1WL. Tel: 0116 3265401.
  • Fix Auto UK’s Portfolio of wholly owned repair centres comprises Fix Auto Daventry, Fix Auto Colwyn Bay, Fix Auto Barnsley, Fix Auto Crawley, Fix Auto Paignton, Fix Auto Liverpool South and Fix Auto Castleford. The Network also holds a majority share in Fix Auto Goole.
  • Fix Auto Durham, Woodstone Village, Houghton-le-Spring, DH4 6DU. Tel: 0191 3851747.


Please Note:
For further information please contact Mark Richards on 07774 861596.