A TRADESMAN has celebrated 25 years of service since he joined a manufacturing company as an apprentice.

Mr Flanagan started his training at South West Durham Training in 1993 and came to Aycliffe Fabrications in 1994 as an advanced apprentice.

He studied for his city and guilds fabrication and welding certificates at Wearside College and received an award as an outstanding apprentice.

In 2001, after completing his apprenticeship and working as a tradesman Mr Flanagan was promoted to a senior role to reflect his increased knowledge and ability.

Aycliffe Fabrications was established in 1980 and is now a successful, well established company.

The company manufactures bespoke metal products in mild steel, stainless steel and aluminium ranging from the everyday things to large artistic commissions.

A spokesperson from Aycliffe Fabrications said: "John’s excellent skills in fabrication work have contributed to the company being able to manufacture a wide range of diverse products ranging from very large tanks to intricate stainless steel items.

"He has also taken a great interest in passing these skills on to younger apprentices to ensure the continuity of his profession and the traditional skills used at Aycliffe Fabrications.

"The company are very lucky that John has made his career with Aycliffe Fabrications. We believe this is down to him being an extremely skilled sheet metalworker and having the opportunity to use his skills on such a wide variety of jobs as well as working for a well established company."

Alongside Mr Flanagan's trade skills, his outside interests in photography and computers have also contributed to the success of Aycliffe Fabrications.

The tradesman has always been on hand with his photographic equipment to take quality pictures of their products and his interest in computers helped with the recently installed press brake and plasma CNC machine.

The company said the addition of both the machines meant they were able to train workers in new skills – something Mr Flanagan has been at the forefront of.

The company said he worker always helps to make the most of the equipment and teach others new skills.

Aycliffe Fabrications held a surprise celebration for the tradesman last week, which involved his colleagues and family.

The company's managing director, Christine Bewley, presented the worker with an engraved whisky glass and holder, a bottle of whisky and a cheque to say thank you for his continued commitment to Aycliffe Fabrications.