This afternoon we took a tea break chat with Peter Watson, a member of the sales team at JCB Medway Volkswagen, who is to celebrate his 80th birthday next month.
How does he feel about turning 80? "You're as old as you feel", he said, "and if you have your health and plenty of energy, that's all that matters - it's just a number! I love my job and continuing to work keeps you young and keeps your brain going!"
So, how long has Peter been working in the car industry? ... Since the 1970's. Peter has always loved cars, since being a small child, and always wanted to race cars. He started out working for Ford specialists in their rally racing preparation division. His dream came true when he was asked to compete in rally series events both at home and in Europe. Later on he opened his own rally preparation specialist workshop and sales office and was in business for over 15 years.
After several approaches, he finally agreed to go back to working for a dealer group with MG Rover and gained success as their top salesman for 5 years running. Peter joined JCB Volkswagen 15 years ago, following our Sales Manager, Derek Sweeny, who had been a colleague for many years, and forming the foundation of today's very successful team.
We asked Peter what had changed over the years and he said, "Well, there's more noughts on the price of the cars!; but really the same principle applies now as ever - our customers come back because we listen to what they want, establish a good relationship with them and go that extra mile to make sure they get the best deal".
Any advice to youngsters starting out in the car industry? "Not really, just be sure to get on with people - customers and colleagues - and enjoy the business. There's a lot more paperwork nowadays, but I still enjoy coming in to work and having a laugh with people".
Are there any celebrations planned for the big 'eight-0'? "Well, I have 7 grandchildren, so we hope that all the family will be able to meet up for a meal together."
We certainly wish Peter a very happy 80th birthday and are finding it difficult to believe he's got that number right!
Peter's colleagues arranged a few surprises on the day!