Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa says its longest-serving employee has retired after working for the Blue Oval brand for more than 47 years.

Graham Boswell started his career at Ford’s Neave vehicle plant in Henry Ford Road in Port Elizabeth on 8 May 1972, following in the footsteps of his father who worked for the company for almost 30 years.

Neale Hill, managing director of Ford SA, said it was “fantastic to see this kind of legacy in our South African operations where three generations of the same family have grown up living the brand and contributing to its success”.

“On behalf of Ford Motor Company, we honour Graham Boswell and thank him for his dedication to the company over all these years. The Boswell family is an integral part of Ford’s history in Port Elizabeth, and they set an outstanding example for others to follow,” Hill said.

Although he started out in stores, Boswell soon joined the fire-and-safety team, a role he fulfilled throughout the remainder of his career. He later moved to the nearby Struandale engine plant.

“I had to drop out of school to help my dad put bread on the table because we were nine brothers and two sisters,” Boswell said. “My father always told us that Ford was a great company to work for. Ford has been very good to the Boswell family, giving us the opportunity to grow and develop as part of the business.”

Boswell’s daughter (Tania), brother Derick’s daughters (Anthea and Roelien) and brother Greg’s son (Sydney) are all now involved in various aspects of the Struandale engine plant, from communications to logistics and engine assembly.

“My first car was a Cortina sedan, which was a special edition Springbok green colour with brown vinyl, and it even had the Springbok emblem on the sides. I had lots of Fords over the years as I improved my position in the company, and in line with the models that we built.”

He now drives an EcoSport 1,5 TDCi Titanium, while the family also owns a Capri V6 and a 1971 Taunus 17M V4.

“When I started at Ford the Capri and Taunus were both in production at the Neave plant, and I was working in the stores supplying the parts for these models. It feels like yesterday,” he said.

“I really want to thank the Ford family for the great opportunities it has given the Boswell family. I pass through the exit gate with a happy heart, knowing that the family I leave here are in safe hands and within a great working environment.”