Lynemouth power station

 Lynemouth power station shut down  

I don’t like change …full stop, I have enough changes going on in my life like just getting up and putting arty leg on and trying to get on with things and stuff, unless you are an above knee amputee this will mean nothing to you, but as any amputee will tell you as much as we like to think we just put on our leg and go it’s never that simple, there are a thousand things going on in your brain, will it fit? Is it going to be a nice comfy fit? Will it hurt? Can I take a step? Walking down the stairs step over step or bad leg first? Is it windy outside? Is it icy outside? can I walk good enough in these new trainers or shoes? ……..yes the list go on and on without even thinking about anything out of the norm happening so when there is a change to my routine  out of shear principle I don’t like it .

Well today at work we would be taking the last unit off load and shutting down ….who knows what the future will hold.

I have been in the coal firing generating business ever since I left the Royal Navy , first with the CEGB at Blyth power station then when that closed I moved up the road to what is now Lynemouth power station.

I joined the industry right in the middle of the mines strike 1984 / 5, of course at the time I hadn’t got a clue about what was going on but driving past the picket lines on my way past the local pit where really an eye opener and I now know that it split the local communities with regards to who worked and was known as a scab and those who stayed on strike………….. Even now years and years later old grudges about the strike still run true. But like I said I didn’t really know that much about it. Nowadays Coal or deep mining has had its day in the UK now, coal is now classed as a “dirty” fuel and causes all sorts of environmental problems so coal is getting phased out (unless there is another government u turn) which brings me to my present problem, the power station where I work will be shutting down and maybe converting to burn Bio mass (wood) and today when I happen to be on shift and my unit 3 will be the last unit to shut down at 3pm. Not a big deal as such as we normally shut the units down and run them up on a regular basis but today we would be shutting it down for the last time on coal and if the truth is known it will be my last time ever running a coal fire unit producing electricity so it’s like an end of an era for me  ……………….I know that if we don’t go ahead with the conversion to wood I will be out of a job and who in their right mind would employ a 56 year old who is missing a leg , of course it would be nice if I could retire but sadly I’m just not ready yet even though I do feel that I have been dragging this metal leg around backwards and forwards to work for far too long and I’m tired ..There I have said it I’m tired of it all. So shutting down the unit / power station for the last time is something I could really do without …….not because of the shutdown but because of the uncertainly of what the future will hold ……..like I said I don’t like change.

The shutdown went as planned without any problems and here’s a bit of what the company wrote about it:-

After 43 years of operations, Lynemouth Power Station has burnt its last coal. As of 3pm on Tuesday 22rd December 2015, the power station will no longer burn coal, but will move towards a full conversion to biomass generation.

To mark the last coal burn one of the longest serving employees, Peter Kay – Shift Engineer, was asked to open the Unit 3 generator electrical circuit breaker, thus removing the unit from operation on coal for the final time. Peter began working at the station on the 5th September 1977 and so has witnessed the station begin and end coal fired generation and now prepare to enter a new chapter with the move towards low carbon biomass generation.

Vaun Campbell, Managing Director said, “The ending of coal burn is undoubtedly a significant event in the stations 43 year history, Lynemouth has a tremendous workforce and we now look forward to an exciting future with the conversion to biomass generation.”

Whilst I am on about Vaun I really should give him a mention ………….there have been many people in my life who have made a huge impact on how I see or think about things or simply reassure me when i needed it the most , Well Vaun is one of those people , I will always remember laying in hospital , drugged up to the eye balls not being able to move ,worried sick about how I was going to manage and what about my job , and how could we keep up with the mortgage repayments if I lost it and all the other money problems that I would have to sort out as well as trying to get use to the fact that I had lost my leg and the rest of my body was pretty much beat up , and just lying there feeling totally helpless when Vaun turned up and the first thing he did was to reassure me that my job was safe and that he would sort something out and not to worry about it just concentrate on getting well again , ……..just a sentence ….but it was a huge worry of my mind and he was true to his word , I had a very easy return to work , with me deciding what I could do and what I couldn’t do and this was before the “days of fazed returns” , likewise over the years I have met up with many other amputees who for one reason or another felt like they had been forced out of their jobs for various reasons …….yes I know all about the discriminatory  laws and about  how long it takes to even get to court and all the stress that goes with it  once you get involved with these cases but..........again  speaking to these  amputees it just wasn’t worth the stress and hassle to even try so they didnt bother ....... but again I have never felt like the company has been pushing to get rid of me for whatever reason and I just feel that this could be down to Vaun as well.

So as we have been sold again I now find myself working for a new company which will take us down a full conversion into Biomass which is good news but as with all “take overs” new people will take over the role of Managing Director and Vaun has announced that he is to retire …………..if you ever read this Vaun I wish you a long and happy retirement and a simple heartfelt ……..thank you for all you did for me .

So that’s another small bit of my life changed and gone what does the future hold? Will I still have this “I hate change feeling “? Or will I get swept away and get full of excitement and have high expectations for the future …..Only time will tell ……………I fully expect to add a few updates to this page as and when things happen so as they say ….watch this space .:-{

A couple of photos taken on the day by Nigel Moore :-

Peter about to open the breaker for the last time whilst the rest of the staff look on

Thats it all done and dusted , with the turning of a switch an end of a era comes to pass

 

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