Pair’s century at rocket park

Ed Andrews (left) and Malcolm Paul both started work at the former RPE Westcott site in September 1963. Below, the pair in the early days of their careers
Ed Andrews (left) and Malcolm Paul both started work at the former RPE Westcott site in September 1963. Below, the pair in the early days of their careers

Two men are this week celebrating working a combined total of 100 years at the Westcott Venture Park.

Ed Andrews and Malcolm Paul both started work at the former Ministry of Aviation Rocket Propulsion Establishment on September 2, 1963.

Ed Andrews (left) and Malcolm Paul pictured in their early days at Westcott, where they have both worked for 50 years

Ed Andrews (left) and Malcolm Paul pictured in their early days at Westcott, where they have both worked for 50 years

The pair have held a variety of roles at the site over the years, Mr Paul always working with rocket engines and Mr Andrews as an engineer and is now employed by the park’s managing agents.

They have only worked together once - in the 70s and 80s - on ground support equipment.

Mr Paul, 71, said: “He built the engines and I blew them up and then he came and mended them.”

Both went to school in and around Aylesbury, Mr Andrews to Wendover’s John Colet School and Mr Paul to the Aylesbury Technical College, now known as the Sir Henry Floyd Grammar School.

Mr Andrews, 66, started as a craft apprentice immediately after leaving school before getting a job at Westcott.

Mr Paul did an apprenticeship with the Atomic Energy Research Group and started as a assistant experimental officer and has worked with rockets ever since. He ran a firing site at Westcott for Surrey Satellites before moving to Reaction Engines, who he now works for.

Neither ever expected they would still be working at Westcott today and they are thought to be the first people to stay there for so long.

Mr Andrews said: “Everybody retired at 60 when we started. When the law changed it was made possible for us to stay on.”

There were around 1,000 people working at the site when the pair started there and they only really got to know each other when they joined forces in the 70s.

There is no party planned to mark the milestone, but the pair were planning to have a few beers to celebrate.