Real Lives: Jim pedals a course for an anniversary double

Jim Kerr, Fergie and the bike he used when he began work
Jim Kerr, Fergie and the bike he used when he began work
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LOCAL man Jim Kerr is preparing to celebrate two very important anniversaries, with his 75th birthday falling in the same year he celebrates 60 years working with the same firm.

Mr Kerr, of Currie, turns 75 tomorrow, but while most people would have taken retirement by that age, he is still hard at work.

Later this year he will mark the 60th anniversary of starting work with George Henderson Ltd, now trading as Henderson Grass Machinery.

Mr Kerr was born on May 9, 1937, at Braidwood Farm, Temple, where his parents farmed until ill health forced them to give up the farm and move to Edinburgh.

He started with Henderson’s, in Gorgie Road, as a store and delivery boy on August 41952, age 15, and was put to work delivering parts on the company bicycle, which to this day is in the company headquarters at Haddington.

After carrying out his National Service in the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders, based in Inverness – a period which included service in South Korea and Aden – he returned to work.

When an opportunity to train on the sales side came up, he grabbed it with both hands – and has never let go.

After a brief time at the Kingston branch, an opening became available at Gorgie Road, covering Midlothian and Peeblesshire.

With the very recognisable white hair – that he still has now – he became very well known and respected throughout the farming community.

He was also well known in his younger years as a ladies man, found gazing at many females in the Canny Man’s in Morningside, or at the young farmers’ dances.

He met Evelyn, his wife, and they had two daughters, Debbie and Karen.

The girls recall that they never really saw dad when they were younger, other than holidays, but they both remember being woken up almost every night, when Jim would come in from work and proceed to phone customers – in a very, very loud voice.

In 1989, after being diagnosed with cardio myopathy two years previously, Mr Kerr had a heart transplant. He went on to compete in many British, European and even a World Transplant Games in Sydney, winning many medals.

His one love, other than work, is his Jack Russell dogs. Champers, Mitzi and Sparky are now gone, but he now has a “lively boy” called Fergie, named after the first grey Ferguson tractor.

Mr Kerr has four grandchildren – James, Rebecca, Matthew and Jessica. He has recently been honoured by being asked to become honorary vice president of Peeblesshire Agricultural Society.

Huge advances in agricultural machinery have been made in the past 60 years – and Mr Kerr has shown no signs of slowing down.