At 79 years young, James Cockburn was sick of looking at four walls at home so had a look through the College’s prospectus in August to see if there was anything that would appeal to him and hopefully, he could learn a new skill.
He contacted the College and had a chat with Weld Skills lecturer, Michael Garraghan and was surprised to learn that Michael was accepting him onto the Level 1 Award in Introductory Welding Skills - Metal Inert Gas (MIG) Welding course. James has recently completed the course where he was able to fabricate and weld a metal candlestick (pictured above) and is already looking at returning to the College to make a Weathervane.
Michael said “Towards the end of the course I gave James a little revision homework in preparation for a test the following week. I’m pleased to say he passed the test with flying colours, and when I asked when was the last time he had been set homework, I was shocked when he informed me it was in 1956 - just a steady 64 years earlier.”
James, who is originally from Hartlepool, left school in 1957 and went to work at the Steelworks in Hartlepool. When James was 20 years old, he moved to London as industry in the North East was slow and redundancies were imminent. James joined the Metropolitan Police force in London, and he served all through the ‘60s and ‘70s before then going on to work for British Rail. In 1984 he started his own business (pest control & building services) retiring in 1997, leaving the business to his family & returning to Hartlepool.
James said “I was married for 57 years, and sadly my wife passed away in April this year. All of my family and grandchildren still live in London, and after giving up golf due to an illness I didn’t want to let boredom set in. My wife bought me a welding machine 40 years ago and it’s never been used, so I thought learning the basics of welding would set me on the path to start using the 40-year-old present.”