“It is only for a while”, he added.

He had in fact already retired at the age of 60, but 76 year old Adri Eekels still works for Van Beek. “Not long after my retirement I dropped by, then the director/proprietor took me to one side to ask if I would like to work half days. ‘It is only for a while’, he added.”

Now, 16 years later, Eekels can still be found at Van Beek’s in the mornings. He had already been involved for years in fitting, shortening and welding the shafts for screw conveyors. “It is good for me. A lot has changed over the years. The tools that we use have improved by leaps and bounds and that makes it a bit easier to deliver the required quality.”

And after a morning at work Eekels still has the whole afternoon free to go out or do something. “Then my wife and I go for a coffee somewhere, or I mess about at home. I have done that all my life. I now have birds as a hobby. I have just bought some chickens.”

Eekels therefore has plenty to do during the day. “But nothing will change my mornings. Even if you were free you would often have a lie-in.”

The question is whether someone with an attitude like that of Eekels would really stay in bed. During the week he gets up around 5 am. “I am here between 6.30 and 6.45 am. I start by making coffee for everyone.”

The fact that Eekels is still working is not because he took things easy in his younger years. “When I left school at 14 I started in the factory the very next Saturday.” And he is not planning to stop yet. “I am lucky to still be in good health. Work is even more enjoyable now I have retired. Before I had to work, now I choose to.”

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