MIKE Gosling started his job in Pool-in-Wharfedale in the year the Beatles released their very first single.

This Sunday, December 31 he will retire after working for paper manufacturer Weidmann Whiteley Ltd for exactly 55 years.

The 70 year old was a teenager when he started with the firm, formerly B S & W Whiteley Ltd, at Pool Paper Mills back in 1962.

Starting as an apprentice paper-maker he went on to become the company's senior laboratory assistantand then Technical Manager - a role he has held for decades.

His colleagues held a farewell lunch for Mr Gosling last week where he was presented with gifts and wished a long and happy retirement.

Managing Director John Briggs said: "Mike began his employment on December 31, 1962 as an apprentice papermaker working 55 hours per week.

"Over the next few years he gained his City and Guilds apprenticeship and began the process of learning about paper and board production on the company's various machines, and gradually rose to the position of Technical Manager, which he has held for many years.

"Over the whole of his time with the company Mike has provided an exemplary commitment, and could often be seen in the mill checking the properties of the paper at nights and weekends.

"At last week's presentation Mike received a scale model of a mould cylinder, a 'Thank You" plaque manufactured in the company's Components division, and a Certificate of Appreciation from the group's owners as well as other gifts from the company and his colleagues.

"Everyone at Weidmann Whiteley wishes Mike a very long and happy retirement - we will miss him!"

Part of the Weidmann Group, Weidmann Whiteley produces specialised paper board used as insulation in high power electrical transformers and other industrial applications.