Feature

Panel beater has worked on Rolls Royce, artificial limb

Panel beater Ray Bottcher has been working at his craft for over 50 years, same job, same location.
Panel beater Ray Bottcher has been working at his craft for over 50 years, same job, same location. Robyne Cuerel

FROM vintage cars to artificial limbs, panel beater Ray Bottcher has worked on almost everything metallic in the 50 years since his first day on the job.

The Maryborough man started his apprenticeship with Ken Yates Panel Repairs as a 15-year-old on January 20, 1964.

A half a century later he's still there - but now Ken Yates Panel Repairs belongs to him.

Ray credited his longevity in the job to getting a fair day's pay for a fair day's work.

"In my day if you got a job in a trade you stayed in that job without chopping and changing," Ray said.

"I was apprenticed as a coach and motor painter but I learned both trades, the panel beating trade and the painting trade.

"It feels like a bit of an achievement, and I'd like to retire - but I think I'll be working another couple of years, at least part-time."

Ray said in that 50 years he had worked on countless vehicles, including Rolls Royces and vintage vehicles and even on an artificial limb.

"I was still an apprentice at the time and I walked in one morning and there was this artificial leg in the workshop.

"I was taken aback a little bit because I had to do some repair on it. But at least it was metal," he laughed.

Married to Lyn, the couple have three sons and five grandchildren.

Ray said he didn't want any of his sons to follow in his footsteps.

"There are a lot of better things a person can do.

"It is a dirty, unhealthy job - and not a high paying job at that - but I wouldn't change a thing."

Topics:  maryborough, rolls royce, vintage cars



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